Mexican Consulate staff in Albuquerque set up for the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at Clovis in the auditorium of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church at Davis and W. Second streets.
Ana Maria del Carmen Mendez Piña works in the Legal Affairs Department of the Consulate.
“We have two other departments,” Piña said. “Documentation and Community Awareness.”
Piña said the mobile consulate program is part of the consulate’s community outreach effort.
Piña said not only are “mobile consulates” set up in Clovis “two or three times a year,” but also in Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Taos, Española and Farmington.
“This year alone, we started visiting communities in Northwest Texas,” Piña said. “In 15 days we will be in Amarillo.”
Piña said staff are working closely with U.S. federal, state and local authorities.
“We work to educate Mexican citizens about their rights here in the United States,” she said.
Piña said staff visit Mexican citizens who are in US prisons, staff help the family know what to do if a Mexican citizen dies in the US, what to do to get the body back to Mexico.
“Dealing with human rights,” Piña said, is part of her department’s job.
What about services for US citizens?
“If you don’t plan to stay in Mexico longer than 180 days, you don’t need a visa,” Piña said.
Asked about the most unusual request she had received in the last five years, she worked at the consulate in Albuquerque or on the road with the mobile consulate, it was Americans who showed up.
“A few times a year, American citizens come to collect an American passport from us,” Piña said. “We tell them the right place to go.”
Piña said Mexican citizens apply for a Mexican passport at the consulate because the passport is the preferred form of identification for Mexican citizens in the United States.
Consulate officials also assist Mexican citizens in the United States with options on paying taxes, education, obtaining financial support, and more.
“Through our community outreach, we try to make visible all the options that the Mexican citizen has to empower themselves,” Piña said. “Our main objective is to defend and promote the interests of Mexican citizens.”
Piña noted the long history that the United States and the Republic of Mexico have together.
“The consulate has been in Albuquerque for 173 years, since 1849,” Piña said. “We have a long history together.”