February 12, 2023

The growth in the Mexican origin and descent population in central Jersey surely warrants the presence of the new consulate.  Even the demographics of New Brunswick alone have changed and there is a large population that can take advantage of the services the consulate provides.  Besides the documentation services, the Mexican Consulate has also provided important support for the Mexican and Mexican American community.  Consuls don’t typically engage in state-to-state policy issues but are a service to local communities of Mexican citizens and their families.  They also support cultural exchange and performances. In New York they have supported for Mexican Studies Institute (at Lehman College) including financial aid for Mexican citizens.  Certainly, Rutgers should establish strong links with the new Consular offices.  It will be of interest to the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies, The Center for Latin American Studies, the Mexican American Student Organization, the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice as well as the Ph.D. program in Latin American History.

As director of the Center I was already planning to reach out to the consulate for initial conversations.

At Rutgers the number of students of Mexican descent have increased dramatically in the last ten years, the product of the immigrant wave from Mexico of the 1990s-2010 period.  We do have the need to improve our inclusion of Mexican and Mesoamerican migration themes more consistently through our courses and faculty hiring in departments like History, Anthropology, Political Science and others.  Certainly, the Department of Latino & Caribbean Studies offers courses on Latin American migration and Latinos in the US that are inclusive of Mexican stories.  But more is needed.  Other potential issues involve resources for Mexican descent students transitioning to graduate school, anti-racist and discrimination work (our students are often subject to racist anti-immigrant attacks), high school completion, support for day laborers and unions including at Rutgers, etc.

Aldo Lauria Santiago