Mexican government finalizing plans to open consulate in New Brunswick
The Mexican Foreign Ministry recently announced the establishment of a new Mexican consulate in the city of New Brunswick, according to a press release.
Mariana Díaz Nagore, consulate leader, said an expanding Mexican diaspora in the state and heightened requests for consular services were key factors behind the Ministry’s plan.
Nagore’s diplomatic tenure extends more than two decades in Mexican consulates of cities such as New York and Los Angeles, and she was previously deputy consul at the Embassy of Mexico in Washington D.C., she said.
Mexican consulates provide vital services for passports, visas and other legal assistance but also deepen community outreach and bilateral relations, she said. The Mexican government outnumbers all international consular efforts with more than 50 locations nationwide.
She said that the long-term mission of the New Brunswick consulate is to deliver these services for Mexican nationals and people of Mexican origin, including Rutgers students, while cultivating intergovernmental ties for their advantage.
"I really hope to foster excellent relationships between the consulate and my counterparts at the state and local levels and to promote trade between Mexico and New Jersey," said Nagore. "Mexican culture is so rich and beautiful, and I hope to showcase it by sharing it with the local community, leaders, artists and academia."
Aldo A. Lauria Santiago, the director of the Center for Latin American Studies and a professor in the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, said Rutgers would benefit from fostering a relationship with the new Mexican consulate and building partnerships for the various Latin American academic departments and organizations on campus.
For example, the New York consulate has supported the students of Lehman College through its Mexican Studies Institute and financial aid programs directed at Mexican nationals, he said.
"At Rutgers, the number of students of Mexican descent has increased dramatically in the last 10 years," he said. "Other potential issues involve resources for Mexican descent students transitioning to graduate school, anti-racist and discrimination work, high school completion and support for day laborers and unions."
Marcelo Meregalli Ferrer, Latin America Initiatives Coordinator at Rutgers Global, said the University has initiated conversations with the consulate to engage in its standard programs and services for the New Brunswick community.
While Rutgers will continue to promote its existing programs for Mexican students and staff, Meregalli Ferrer said the University now has a distinctive path to work with the consulate in its objective to promote trade relations with Mexico.
"We have to keep in mind that Mexico is the U.S.' third largest commercial partner," he said. "I think the presence of the consulate will contribute to Rutgers' visibility and open the doors to different opportunities with the consulate itself, the community and Mexican companies and institutions."
Axel Caballero, a Rutgers Business School senior and president of the Mexican American Student Association (MASA), said the organization's student members are thrilled for the new consulate to commence its operations and excited to see the benefits it brings to the Mexican diaspora in New Jersey.
He said that MASA is examining ways to work with the consulate to support the New Brunswick community and use its resources to inform as many individuals in the community with connections to Mexico about the consulate's operations.
"When passports need to be renewed, many from our community have to either make the journey to these cities or wait for the travel consulate to arrive in New Jersey towns, often waiting hours," Caballero said. "A permanent consulate in New Jersey will alleviate the strain that is accompanied with obtaining important documents."
He said that Mexican-American students are currently supported by on-campus spaces such as MASA and the Center for Latino Arts and Culture that seek to bolster their shared heritage and educate others at Rutgers about the culture of Mexico.
"We host events to give our community a sense of belonging as many of us are first generation students ... (and) many of us are away from home for the first time," Caballero said. "Without their support, both financially and emotionally, these events would not be possible to strengthen our community."