Mobile Mexican Consulate smooths way for immigrants in Arkansas

SPRINGDALE, AR -- The Mexican Consulate has created a mobile team; they visit communities across Arkansas and increase the accessibility of their services for the growing Hispanic community.

Families in Northwest Arkansas lined up for hours for a chance to get a Mexican passport and ID card known as a Matricula Consular.


Luz Garcia of Rogers says. "It's important; we don't have any other identification other than the matricula or the passport."


Garcia says without an ID she can't do things we take for granted like open a bank account, rent an apartment or prove who you are. She says with the Mexican Consulate office in Little Rock, the mobile unit is her only opportunity.


"I don't drive so I can't go to Little Rock three-hours away. It's easy here it takes 20-minutes from Rogers here," Garcia adds.

Mexican Consulate Andres Chao explains, "They need to show us an original birth certificate and another original ID card to apply for what they need."


Consul Chao says his mobile unit travels four times a year across the state and partners with community organizations. This time they partnered with the Department of Labor, Census, Springdale School District and Arkansas Minority Health Commission.


He adds, "Its part of the job of the Mexican Consulate to help to close the gap between the Spanish community and the local authorities."

Saturday Consul Chao presented Springdale Superintendent Jim Rollins with hundreds of Spanish language books. Rollins oversees the second largest school system with more than 18,000 children, most are Hispanic.


Rollins says, "As we can appreciate, respect and include all the family in that process our children will learn better."


Both Consul Chao and Rollins say these books are also an opportunity for folks who want to learn Spanish and for the first time school books will be available for adults to check out.


"It's very important that we understand our respective cultures, our children have to know they're respected individually and that they're cultures are respected. We also want them to learn English as soon as possible, but keep their roots and their first language," Rollins explains.


Consul Chao says an estimated 400 people will get their passports and IDs Saturday and another 300 on Sunday. With such a need, the Mexican Consul mobile team will be back more often.


Consul Chao concludes, "Twice in a year is better for the community and better for us."


The mobile unit will be at the Springdale Civic Center through Sunday, August 9th.


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For more information call the Mexican Consulate office at (501) 372-6933. The Mexican Consulate Office is located at 3500 S. University Ave., Little Rock, Arkansas.


Katherina-Marie Yancy, Today’s THV

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