By Desiree Deleon
Over the course of three days, March 9-11, the Mexican Consulate visited Skagit Valley College’s Mount Vernon campus. The appointments were held in the Multipurpose room, ranging in time from 8:30 am -5 pm. The annual visit was carried out by consulate officials traveling from a local office based in Seattle. During this time, Mexican nationals were able to obtain various legal documents without the extra burden of having to travel south.
Seattle’s Mobile Mexican Consulate uses various stages to perform its services. Venues can vary from churches to community centers, and college campuses such as Skagit Valley College. Farid Alejandro Soberanis Garcia serves the Mexican Consulate as Vice Consul and as Coordinator for Mobile Consulate Services. During an interview, Garcia explained the process of retaining a venue as being a joint effort between the Mexican Consulate in Seattle, local authorities and Sherriff’s departments.
Locations are determined by community needs and accessibility. Before coming to Mount Vernon, the Mobile Consulate had already serviced the cities of Longview, Aberdeen, Centralia, and Raymond. Vice Consul Garcia revealed that Skagit is a popular area to receive mobile services, “it is one of the busiest mobile locations on this side of Washington.” According to the Mexican Consulate webpage, the Consulado Sobre Ruedas or Mobile Consulate, is scheduled to travel over the mountains to Spokane, Walla Walla, and Sunnyside, Washington.
The closest Mexican Consulate to SVC is the office based in Seattle. While it may not seem out of the ordinary for the Seattle Mobile Consulate to visit communities in Washington, some may be surprised to learn that they travel out of state as well. There are select counties in Idaho that are visited by the Mobile Consulate. They also travel as far north as Kodiak and Anchorage, Alaska.
The services provided during these mobile visits do differ from those received directly from the Seattle office. The intention of the Mobile Consulate is to serve the most popular and most frequently needed documentation to Mexican nationals. This includes Mexican passports, birth certificates, applications for dual citizenship, consulate issued ID cards, and voter registration for the Mexican elections. Apart from the voter registrations, all services provided are considered same day processing. Attendees may schedule their appointment with the confidence that their needs will be met during their visit with the Mobile Consulate. The main reason that voter registration cards are not issued during these visits is because they come directly from Mexico. The Mobile Consulate uses the same Mexican database to collect and send voter information, but the document can only be issued from Mexico. The process is the same whether a person files within a main office or a mobile unit. Garcia views these services as critical, stressing “without proper documentation, the people are frozen.”
The success of Mobile Consular visits can be attributed not only to the Mexican Consulate but also SVC staff members such as Yaxkin Hernandez-Melville, who helped support community members during their appointments. Hernandez happily shared, “we even have a coloring contest to help the children feel welcome.” Community health and legal resources were also made available to visitors.
Those interested in obtaining more information regarding the Mobile Consulate and their services can visit https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/seattle/index.php/es/#popup or call the Mexican Consulate in Seattle, 206-448-3526. Yaxkin is a Multicultural Recruitment Specialist and may also serve as a contact for the SVC/Consulate event.