Good afternoon,

Colleagues from the Consular Section,

Distinguished Guests,

I would like to thank and recognize the presence of representatives of our 2014-2015 IME Scholarships – IME Becas recipients: the Sacred Heart Center of Richmond, Virginia; the William & Lanaea C. Featherstone Foundation of Windsor Mill, Maryland; the Carlos Rosario International Charter School of Washington, DC; and the Steward School Corporation of Richmond, Virginia. I truly appreciate your commitment to the education of the immigrant and Hispanic population.

These IME Becas scholarships serve as a recognition of the strengthening partnership between your institutions and the government of Mexico. We have been working very closely with some of you in the Plaza Comunitarias program, offering adults literacy programs as well as elementary and secondary education. I am pleased to see our collaboration growing into something that impacts the lives of our citizens.

The Mexican government created the IME Becas scholarship program in 2005 with the goal of contributing to the development and empowerment of Mexican immigrants by providing economic support to foster their educational advancement.

Last August during a visit to California, President Peña Nieto recognized education as a priority and announced that the government of Mexico would triple the funds allocated to the IME Becas scholarship program in order to reach more Mexican and Mexican-American young students.

From 2005 to 2013, the Mexican government set aside 10 million pesos annually for the IME Becas scholarship program. This year, for the first time since its creation, the budget has increased to 40 million pesos.

Since 2005, the Mexican government has provided benefits to over 44 thousand Mexican students who now have a strong educational foundation that will allow them to continue moving forward in their careers. Together with you here today and our more than 180 partners around the United States, we will be able to reach 12,000 students for the year 2014 - 2015. We wouldn’t be able to achieve this goal without your support.

Your institutions have long worked to educate and empower the immigrant community, providing them with the tools to continue their education with English as Second Language (ESL) Classes, GED programs, workforce training, and other services.

As you are aware, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been an important instrument for Mexican youth in this country as they seek to gain access to better educational opportunities. This program has taken the unprecedented step of tying an immigration status benefit to completion of a U.S. high school diploma or equivalent.

A significant number of DACA beneficiaries met the educational requirements when they applied. However, many other potential applicants lack a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Your work providing adult education programs makes the difference for these potential applicants, allowing them to meet DACA’s education requirement, and eventually acquire work authorization, a driver's license, and other benefits that facilitate their active participation in the economy and their full integration into their communities.

Migration trends are changing. Emigration flows from Mexico have experienced a dramatic shift in recent years. From 2005 to 2010, net migration between Mexico and the United States was close to zero, and since then it has only increased slightly. Our population, like yours, is aging and there are less people willing to migrate from Mexico to the United States.

This new migration trend poses new challenges and opportunities. While our embassy and consulates will continue to serve the most vulnerable—the undocumented and early arrivals—we need to adjust our policies and programs to the new realities of our communities in the United States. 64% of Mexicans in the U.S. have lived in this country for over 10 years and the Mexican-American population is growing steadily.

In our efforts to empower our community and help them stay in touch with Mexico, the Embassy and consular network have transcended traditional consular services. Mexicans have access to a wide array of services and programs, from consular ID cards and passports, to health information, financial literacy programs, and information about education opportunities.

Your institutions play an important role in promoting immigrant and economic inclusion, providing financial literacy classes and assisting immigrants in their pathway to citizenship. Our mutual goal is for Mexicans and Latinos in the United States to become active participants in their communities, and thriving, fully integrated members of society. The Embassy and our Consular Section will continue to work with you to achieve this goal.

Thank you for your hard work in the service of the advancement of our communities.