Updated at 2:59 p.m., Friday Mar. 3
Mexican consulates throughout the United States, including San Diego, have formed a network to help their citizens amid “fear and uncertainty” over U.S. immigration policy.
Consul General Marcela Celorio met with reporters Friday at the consulate’s office in Little Italy to explain the program for Mexican nationals that she said would “empower them to be able to fully integrate into American society.”
Her office is one of 50 consulates that will provide individual advice and legal assistance amid President Donald Trump’s vow to deport undocumented immigrants and build a border wall. The consulates have been flooded with calls since Trump was elected. Celorio said her office has provided advice and legal screenings to 6,000 people since last November.
Celorio said there is “fear and uncertainty,” especially among the large immigrant population in North San Diego County, and the consulate wants to help.
“Mexicans live here, they have their kids here, they go to school, they work, they contribute to the society,” she said.
She stressed that consulate staff will follow all U.S. laws in providing assistance to Mexican nationals.
“The consulate will keep on working with the authorities — local, state and federal,” she said. “We live in this country. We have to respect the law.”
She said the consulate has also conducted 51 forums throughout San Diego County. The next one is scheduled on Mar. 11 in Escondido, she said. President Donald Trump — who wants to build a wall along the international border and implement a merit-based immigration system — has criticized localities that don’t cooperate with Border Patrol and Customs agents.
Enrique Morones, founder of the Border Angels advocacy group, praised the consulate’s effort to provide legitimate advice at a time when immigrants may be taken advantage of.
“People are very, very concerned,” he said. “There’re a lot of rumors out there.”
City News Service contributed to this article.
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