FORCES SHAPING OUR FIGHT: GLOBAL AND DOMESTIC MEGA - TRENDS INFORMING OUR STRATEGY
Nashville, Tenn., December 12th, 2016
I want to thank the National Partnership for New Americans and the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, and all other organizations involved for inviting me to participate in this Conference.
It is truly an honor to be with you today and to have the opportunity to speak and share with you some of our ideas, thoughts and plans for the future.
For the last 20 years, I have worked representing Mexico in cities and regions with significant immigrant communities, such as New York, Chicago, San Antonio and Los Angeles. That has given me a cumulative experience to recognize the importance of welcoming and integrating immigrants into the places and societies receiving them.
It should not surprise anyone when I say that the world is changing and that we are facing situations and challenges of unprecedented magnitude in many different regions of the planet.
Although all of this generates uncertainty and anxiety, it also represents an opportunity to develop and strengthen our capacities and actions, promote solidarity and influence THE world that will emerge from new dynamics.
Like the United States, Mexico is not exempt from the changes that are occurring worldwide. Our history, characteristics and geographic location, coupled with these global movements, have allowed us to adjust to new situations and new environments, and have placed Mexico as a global player, acting, proposing and influencing the regional and international arenas.
One example is the role that Mexico played during the G-20 Leaders Summit held this year in China, during which Mexico contributed to the development of solutions for the streamlining of international trade, as well as to promote financial inclusion, investment flows and working with member countries to achieve the implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.
Another example: climate change.
A few days ago, Mexico hosted the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Cancun. At its closing, its 196 countries adopted a landmark statement to integrate concerns of biodiversity care into the agricultural, tourism, fisheries and forestry sectors, through a social and cultural approach.
Besides these and other multilateral actions, Mexico's relation with the US is an essential piece of our international stature. Mexico is the United States’ second-largest export market and its third-largest trading partner, with more than 500 billion dollars of bilateral trade just last year.
Mexico is the first, second or third trading partner for 33 of the 50 US states. Approximately 5 million jobs in this country depend directly on trade with Mexico.
As you know, our bilateral relationship plays out in different stages. A fundamental part of Mexico´s foreign policy with the US is the protection and development of Mexican communities in this country.
Over the years, Mexico has built the largest consular network in the world. We have 50 consulates serving Mexican nationals in urban and rural areas of the United States through mobile consulates and consulates on wheels. Understanding the challenges that our communities face, we bring the services to them.
In addition to its size, the consular network of Mexico in the US stands out for its variety and quality of its services. It is recognized worldwide for being at the forefront of regular consular services, but also in the provision of health services and financial education, as well as assistance and protection for Mexican nationals.
Furthermore, our consulates serve as bridges of contact and communication between communities, organizations and local authorities.
Another initiative that has helped develop a strong and deep relationship between Mexico and its diaspora, is the Red Global MX, a network that brings together highly qualified Mexicans living abroad, interested in expanding cooperation between Mexico and their countries or regions of residence. Currently, the Red Global MX has 47 chapters in 22 countries and 4 continents. Our consulates also promote cultural and academic exchanges with the communities in their respective jurisdictions, trade and investment opportunities with local and state authorities, and tourism from Mexicans into the US and Americans into Mexico, amongst other duties.
We have to recognize that the following months and years might be challenging. I am proud to say that Mexico has the infrastructure and capabilities, but above all, it has the will to face situations that may arise, and the confidence to contribute in shaping a brighter future for us all.
Currently, there are 35 million people of Mexican origin living in the United States.
Together, they contribute with about 8% of the US' GDP and approximately 8 million jobs in the United States depend on their economic activities.
One in 25 companies in this country is owned by Mexican immigrants. These companies generate 17 billion dollars in annual revenue. Needless to say, despite their immigration status, Mexicans living in the United States pay taxes and contribute to the social and cultural fabric of their communities.
However, as you know, a lot remains to be done to guarantee that not only Mexicans, but immigrants in general have the opportunities and access to integrate and maximize their potential to continue contributing to the economic and social growth of the United States.
Last week, the Migration Policy Institute published a report calculating the economic cost of brain waste among highly skilled immigrants. The Institute estimated that due to underemployment, $39.4 billion dollars ARE lost annually in forgone earnings and $ 10.2 billion dollars are lost in forgone taxes. There is a lot to be done in collaboration with you, to promote better access to jobs and opportunities for immigrants.
In addition to economic costs, the lack of the integration of immigrants into their communities has a cultural, social, human, and security cost that rarely is factored in.
Therefore, I want to make a brief parenthesis to thank the sustained efforts and hard work of you all. There is not a more honorable task than dedicating your professional life and even your free time to promoting the respect and well-being of others, especially when they live in a situation of vulnerability.
Paraphrasing Bertold Brecht, men and women who fight all their lives are indispensable. You, my friends, are indispensable and to concentrate on the future, I would like to share with you some of Mexico's plans
The development of recent events has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate and strengthen our resources, but above all, to be more united and committed than ever to the development and well-being of our communities.
Mexico's Foreign Ministry recently announced an 11-point plan to emphasize the fact that communities of Mexicans in the US can count on us. This is an immediate action plan already being implemented throughout the country by our consular network.
We continue working: In the near future, we will keep developing and announcing actions to promote the protection and development of our communities, to name a few, and we will keep highlighting the significant contributions of immigrants.
In addition to the commitment we have with Mexicans living in the United States, we feel encouraged knowing that our actions do not end with them.
We believe that disseminating the valuable contributions of immigrants in the US, as well as raising awareness of the importance of respecting their rights and promoting their integration, transcends the Mexican communities and reaches to all groups of immigrants who have chosen the United States as their country of residence.
This is one of the ideas that have kept us optimistic and excited about the role we are playing nowadays. Our consulates in Atlanta, Boise, New York and everywhere will continue building bridges in their localities, bringing together communities, organizations and authorities to promote welcoming initiatives that transcend national divisions and help all migrants and the American society as a whole.
I invite you, regardless of the nature and size of your organization, to approach the consular network of Mexico and explore opportunities for cooperation.
It is an honor to find myself among men and women determined to be actors of change, who are committed to improving their communities, societies, their country and the world.
Uncertain times demand courage and solidarity.
That is precisely Mexico's plan for the future.
This is not the first time that Mexico and the United States face change or challenge, and most likely it will not be the last. but let me underscore that we have always been stronger, safer and more successful when we have worked together.
I invite you all to prepare yourselves to match the changes taking place on the ground, constructively, with changes in the way we think, the strategies we create and the alliances we make.
We must learn a new language so that we can establish dialogue, find commonalities and reach compromises without relinquishing our commitment and dedication to those who matter the most: our peoples.
Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to participate in such an important event.
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