The relationship between the United States and Mexico has grown over time from distant neighbors to close economic and cultural allies, a Mexican embassy official told administrators and students Oct. 12.
The United States and Mexico achieved more than $660 billion in trade in 2021, including more than $4 billion between Mexico and Maryland, according to Rafael Laveaga, head of the consular section at the Embassy of Mexico. Mexico to Washington.
Increased trade between the two countries, as well as the 31 million people with family or business ties to the United States and Mexico, are key to “economic interdependence,” Laveaga said.
“We are neighbors and we are business partners,” Laveaga said. “I think we kind of become very close, even in terms of family.”
Laveaga said Latinos in the United States work hard, many of whom accept multiple shifts a day.
“Mexico and the United States have a lot more in common than is commonly believed,” Laveaga said.
Laveaga said allowing more Mexican temporary workers into the United States could reduce the number of detained immigrants crossing the United States-Mexico border each month.
“We have workers with their [temporary work visas]“said Laveaga. “And they come in April; they leave in December. Well paid with insurance. The business owner…provides accommodation. It’s a pretty good deal.
Mexican temporary workers pick up almost all of the crabs harvested on the east coast, Laveaga added.
The Mexican Consulate assists Mexican citizens visiting or living in the United States with matters such as passports, consular ID cards, birth and death certificates, and connects individuals with attorneys or organizations that can help them.
Laveaga’s speech was one of many in-person events during AACC’s Hispanic Heritage Month in October.
AACC President Dawn Lindsay said the speech was an “incredible opportunity” for the students and said she hoped to welcome Laveaga back.
“I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to have someone like Rafael in our college,” Lindsay said. “This type of conference is really important to us because we strive to continually meet our students where they are, and our commitment to diversity and making sure we provide people with information to help educate them.”
Student Success and Retention Advisor Samuel Cordero-Puchales agrees.
“As we grow and work in academic areas, we can see what the needs of the community are and see how we can perhaps meet [them] academically,” said Cordero-Puchales, who organized AACC’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. “It’s good to create awareness, to create dialogues.”
Vice President of Learning Tanya Millner called Laveaga a “superstar.”
“As an institution that is focused on lifelong learning,” Millner said, “we always take the opportunity and take advantage of all of our superstars in our community and around our neighborhoods to learn more about their diversity of culture to learn more about their language, politics and needs.
First-year pre-law student Ashley Flores-Gonzalez said the speech was helpful in combating false assumptions about Mexicans.
“I’m just glad people came to this event,” Flores-Gonzalez said. “Because unfortunately we have a lot of people who think Mexicans are bad people, [that] they’re smugglers and things like that. And I’m just glad he made it clear, we’re not that, we’re just here for the opportunity to have a good life.