Breaking down the services offered by the Mexican Mobile Consulate in Northern Nevada
The Las Vegas-based Mexican Consulate will be making its first visit of 2023 to Reno on Saturday, Feb. 25, and Sunday, Feb. 26.
KUNR’s bilingual reporter Natalie Van Hoozer sat down with All Things Considered host Danna O’Connor to recap the conversation she had with Consul Julián Escutia about how the consulate serves Northern Nevada.
Danna O’Connor: So Natalie, what is the Mexican Mobile Consulate?
Natalie Van Hoozer: Well, Danna, Consul Julián Escutia explained in Spanish that the mobile consulate comes to Northern Nevada to offer basic consular services for the Mexican community, particularly if you can’t get to Las Vegas.
O’Connor: And what types of services are those?
Van Hoozer: So people can get help with their passports. They can get a matricula consular, which is a document from the consulate certifying someone’s nationality and identity as a Mexican living abroad. You can also submit an application to be certified as a Mexican voter living outside the country.
O’Connor: How can people make an appointment for the mobile consulate? Are they free?
Van Hoozer: Yes, they are free, and Consul Escutia said that people need to communicate directly with the consulate staff on the phone. He had some more details.
(SOUNDBITE OF JULIÁN ESCUTIA IN SPANISH): Lo hacemos de esta forma porque en Reno lamentablemente hay un negocio que ha estado vendiendo citas y acaparando citas, lo cual, pues no es muy positivo porque las citas son gratis.
Van Hoozer: He said that they’ve had issues in the past with the Reno mobile consulate appointments getting reserved by a third-party organization, which was then selling those appointments to people. He doesn’t want anyone falling for that scam because the appointments are free.
O’Connor: Looking more broadly, since the Vegas consulate is the only Mexican consulate in Nevada, how do they serve the other more rural areas of the state?
Van Hoozer: So the consulate has a network of people around the state who volunteer their time, letting the consulate know if there’s something that needs to be addressed. And [the consulate] also has a 24/7 phone line that people can call if they have issues and aren’t in Vegas.
O’Connor: And has the consulate noticed an increase in the need for their services outside of Las Vegas?
Van Hoozer: Right, so Consul Escutia said that there’s always a need. Looking at farm workers alone, they estimate that there are at least 2,000 of them with temporary work visas in Northern Nevada. They also want workers to contact the consulate if they’re experiencing workplace abuses, like not getting paid, so that the consulate can offer support. They also want to know if people have employers that they really like, so they have that information as well.
O’Connor: And the Mexican Consulate in Las Vegas is now offering their first mobile event in Elko this year.
Van Hoozer: That’s right. Escutia explained that, prior to a reorganization in 2022, the Boise consulate would do mobile events in Elko. Now, it’s the Vegas one. He wrapped up our conversation by explaining that a lot of people ask why there isn’t a [Mexican] consulate in Reno.
(SOUNDBITE OF JULIÁN ESCUTIA IN SPANISH): Es que la gran mayoría de la población mexicana en Nevada vive en el sur, es más del 90%. Entonces no significa que el 10% o el 1% sea menos importante, pero definitivamente la concentración de los recursos limitados con los que contamos se tienen que concentrar aquí en el sur de Nevada.
Van Hoozer: He said that because such a large portion of Nevada’s Mexican community lives in the southern part of the state, more than 90%, that’s where they need to concentrate their resources.
Appointments for the February mobile consulate are now open and can be reserved by calling one of the six phone numbers listed below. For more information, visit the Las Vegas Mexican Consulate’s Facebook page.
View the calendar of upcoming Mexican Mobile Consulates here.
Support for this reporting comes from America Amplified.