SDSU hosts high-profile diplomat

Nick Lowrey

Immigration, Trade and the future of the relationship between Mexico and America headlined the Mexican Consul General for the Upper Midwest’s visit to campus Sept.26.

Ana Luisa Fajer, Mexico’s Consul General for the Upper Midwest, spoke to a crowded Vollstorff Ballroom Monday night about the complex relationship between the United States and its southern neighbor Mexico. She gave a 30-minute presentation discussing Mexico’s economy and its trade relationship with the U.S., as well as Mexican immigration to America. After her presentation, she took several questions from the audience

“What I want to submit to you is (the U.S. and Mexico’s) is the richest relationship. This relationship is unique and this border is unique because of the amount of crosses and the amount of trade we do on a daily basis.” She said.

Mexico is South Dakota’s second largest trading partner behind only America’s northern neighbor Canada. A fact the Consul General was quick to note in her presentation. Nationally, the U.S.-Mexican trade relationship was worth $846 million in exports for 2010. For South Dakota, the relationship was worth almost $340 million.

“For Mexico, the most important partner and relationship is the U.S.,” Fajer said. “… Mexico and the U.S. trade $1 billion a day and there are more than one million border crossings a day.”

There are nearly 30 million people of Mexican descent living in America today, while official numbers put at least 11 million of those as having been born in Mexico. Immigration is both a complex and controversial issue in both countries.

“Immigration,” Fajer said, “is a phenomenon that needs to be managed, not a problem to be solved.”

The Consul focused on immigration as an issue that both the U.S. and Mexico need to work on together in order to manage. According to her, Mexico is a country of origin for immigrants, and a destination for and transportation hub to the U.S. for many Central and South American Immigrants.

“People from Central and South America do not want to stay in Mexico, they want to come to the U.S. So we have to kind of regulate that flow.” She said. “ … So what we are demanding from the U.S. is an orderly secure and humane (immigration) process.”

Another issue that directly affects Mexican immigration and migration is the drug trade. Drug cartels have moved into Mexico because of its proximity to the U.S. and the ease of crossing the border. Drugs are flowing North while money and firearms are flowing South.

“We have to join efforts and share responsibility for what is going on. We don’t want a country where the drug traffickers have the control,” Fajer said.