Newly instated Consul General of Mexico in Atlanta, Javier Díaz de León, has vowed to forge a stronger relationship between his community and state authorities, in order for the rights of Mexican citizens to be respected.
In an interview with Cox Media Group affiliate MundoHispánico, Díaz de León also stated that he will work toward helping law enforcement officials to recognize the “large contribution” of the Mexican community in the development of Georgia.
As well, Díaz de León made clear that his priority is to fulfill the needs of his community with regards to issues such as legal documentation, civil registry, safety and protection and health and education, among others.
Furthermore, Díaz de León assured that he will seek alliances with entities and organizations providing social, cultural, economic and academic services, with the end goal of improving the quality of life of Mexicans within his jurisdiction.
Díaz de León has been a member of the Mexican Foreign Service since 1991, and he has held key positions in Mexican embassies both in the United States and Australia, as well as in consulates in cities such as San Diego, New York and Raleigh. In fact, Díaz de León was Consul General of Mexico in Raleigh for three years prior to being transferred to Georgia.
MundoHispánico: Consul, first of all, welcome to Atlanta. Tell us, what are your feelings about being transferred to Georgia?
Javier Díaz de León: In this region, we have a very large consular area to cover, both in territory and in population. According to demographers, the number of Mexicans whom this consulate serves is between 850,000 and could reach up to one million. It's a huge challenge for me.
MH: Speaking of challenges, do you have any short term goals in mind for meeting the demands of your community?
JDL: Since our immigrants are so new to this region, their level of integration to society is an ongoing process. Many of the members of our community don't speak English, they don't understand how institutions work, they aren't connected to the financial system and they are afraid of reaching out to the authorities. All of that makes them vulnerable, which requires us to create special policies, so beyond our normal duties of issuing documents and offering consular protection, we must give the community tools so that they can integrate into this country's system.
MH: Are you aware that Georgia has a long history of complaints of abuse against the authorities? Have you drawn up any type of plan for reaching out to local authorities?
JDL: Part of the job we have ahead of us has to do with speaking with the authorities on every level, so we are going to open more channels of dialogue with city and county governments, but you have to understand one thing. It's not about telling them to stop doing their job, but rather making sure that when they do their job, that they respect people's rights and dignity. It is very important to us that they abide by consular advice.
MH: I can tell you that the consulate has improved a lot in terms of wait times for documentation and services, because there are not as many complaints as before, but situations have occurred that sully the positive reputation that the consulate has been trying to achieve.
JDL: We are all responsible for our actions; every person who breaks the law or makes a mistake must obey the consequences of their own actions. That applies to everyone, including public servants, so in that context every person must explain their actions, and it is our job to speak about what it is we do as an institution and what it is that we are going to do.
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Credit: DeKalb County District Attorney's Office