|Mexican Flag Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Luz Robles is already a Utah state senator, having taken office in January.
Her three-year term with the CCIME had ended at the end of December 2008.
Yet in April, now Senator Robles is again in attendance at a CCIME conference in Mexico City.
We now have a bit of a mystery.
If Luz Robles was no longer an advisor in the CCIME and had already become a Utah state senator, why was she attending the April 2009 CCIME conference in Mexico?
One speaker was so pleased to see her that he announced her presence with great exuberance.
Efraín Jiménez, the speaker, acknowledges the dignitaries sitting in front, the assembled CCIME members, and then gushes about Luz Robles:
"Very distinguished colleague and pride of many Mexicans who are abroad, Luz Robles, elected senator by the state of Utah."
("Muy distinguida compañera y orgullo de muchos mexicanos que estamos en el exterior, Luz Robles, senadora electa por el estado de Utah.")
Senator Robles then receives a very warm round of applause from the assembled council.
There is a video of this speech and the part just described on youtube.com. The acknowledgment occurs at the beginning of the video. It is difficult to pinpoint Luz Robles in the group in the video, but it pans to the right after the acknowledgment as if the camera-person was trying to get a shot of her. It is an interesting video because it shows how the meetings for the entire group took place and indicates the chance the advisors had for rubbing elbows, so to speak, with high-level Mexican government officials.
The video is at:
The speech by Efraín Jiménez is available at:
Senator Robles also appears to have attended a meeting of the Political Affairs Commission of the CCIME in conjunction with the conference. Her name appears on page 4 of the document below. She is listed as an observer:
She apparently also attended a Legal Affairs Commission meeting. Her name and signature appear at the bottom of page 6 of the following document:
Again, what was Senator Luz Robles doing in Mexico at this meeting after having taken office?
Given that Mr. Jiménez was so animated to see Luz Robles, we may find a clue in his speech as to why he was so happy to see her.
Early in his speech, he says this:
"The Mexicans that [we] are in the exterior do not forget our land, our families, and the achievements that I will mention recognize the commitment that we have to this trans-border Mexican nation."
("Los mexicanos que estamos en el exterior no sabemos olvidar de nuestra tierra, de nuestras familias, y los logros que a continuación menciono dan cuenta del compromiso que tenemos en esta nación mexicana transfronteriza.")
Thinking of oneself as belonging to a nation that crosses borders would naturally lead to the idea that one should retain political rights in the nation one belongs to - even though it is not the nation of residence.
For example, later in his discourse, he makes this statement:
"It is urgent to integrate the Mexicans abroad into the political life of our country and that we are guaranteed the right to vote and to be voted for and that the participation of the migrant sector in national politics in the large and small needs of the country is guaranteed."
"Es urgente integrar a los mexicanos del exterior en la vida política de nuestro país y que se nos garantice el derecho a votar y ser votados y que se garantice la participación del sector migrante en la política nacional y las grandes y pequeñas necesidades del país."
Mexicans living abroad achieved the right to vote for the President of Mexico and exercised this right for the first time in 2006. Given this fact, what does Mr. Jiménez have in mind with his statement above?
He adds this:
"We are 12 million Mexicans abroad who contribute more than 2.5% of the national GDP in remittances, however we have no formal representation (and) that directly knows our needs."
("Somos 12 millones de mexicanas y mexicanos en el exterior que aportamos más del 2.5% del PIB nacional, por concepto de remesas, sin embargo no contamos con representación formal y que conozca directamente nuestras necesidades.")
Mr. Jiménez then goes on to criticize the major Mexican political parties for not putting forth migrants as candidates, in any significant way, for the Chamber of Deputies (similar to the U.S. House of Representatives).
The situation at the time seems to have been as follows:
1. Mexicans abroad could vote for president, but not for other federal offices - unless they were present in Mexico to vote.
2. Mexicans abroad could be candidates for the Chamber of Deputies, but only if nominated by a Mexican political party for a seat by specific district or a proportional seat within a larger geographical area called a circumscription. Mexicans abroad had no representation in the Chamber of Deputies outside of this method.
3. A Mexican citizen could hold an elected position in Mexico even though they were actually residing outside of the country.
If the parties actively denied migrants a place on the candidate lists, they were essentially denied representation.
The Mexican Chamber of Deputies electoral system is described as follows:
"The Chamber of Deputies is formed by 500 representatives of the nation. All deputies are elected in free universal elections every three years, in parallel voting: 300 deputies are elected in single-seat constituencies by first-past-the-post plurality (called uninominal deputies), and the remaining 200 are elected by the principle of proportional representation (called plurinominal deputies) with closed-party lists for which the country is divided into five constituencies or plurinominal circumscriptions. Deputies cannot be reelected for the next immediate term." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
The nation is divided into five geographic regions for purposes of proportional representation. A map of these regions is available at:
Mr. Jiménez goes on to state:
"We want to be recognized and treated as Mexicans with full rights and for this it is imperative to be recognized as citizens who believe in the government institutions. For this it will be necessary that the attitude of our political leaders here in Mexico change, enough slights."
("Queremos ser reconocidos y tratados como mexicanos con derechos plenos y para ello es imprescindible que se nos reconozca como ciudadanos que creen en las instituciones de gobierno. Para ello será necesario, que la actitud de nuestros líderes políticos aquí en México cambie, ya basta de desaires.")
Mr. Jiménez is calling for a change in attitude among the Mexican parties and that they get serious about allowing candidates from abroad.
How serious is he about the issue? Very serious.
For example, in a short article that appeared in a number of sources in Mexico, the following appeared:
"The activist [Jiménez] acknowledged that they will call to not vote on July 5 from the United States for a future legislature that may not have a migrant deputy, unlike the 3 there are now."
("El activista admitió que llamarán a no votar el 5 de julio desde Estados Unidos por una próxima legislatura que quizás no tenga ni un diputado migrante, a diferencia de los 3 que hay ahora.")
A blog entry about the issue included the idea that Jiménez said the parties will not be able to count on their families' votes on June 5 because of the situation ("that they will not have the vote of our families" - "que no cuenten con el voto de nuestras familias" - http://lahoradelmigrante.
Mr. Jiménez seems to be saying, therefore, that immigrant leaders in the United States will call for Mexicans in Mexico to not vote by having immigrants encourage family in Mexico not to vote if the situation is not changed.
This article is found at: http://www.cimacnoticias.com.
The article also focuses on the removal of two immigrant candidates from the candidate list of the PRD, one of Mexico's main political parties - a situation that seems to have left only two immigrant candidates with the possibility of being elected to the new legislature.
If the Mexican political parties will not put forward enough migrant candidates from the United States, what should be done to fix the situation?
A number of ideas for resolving the problem circulated among Mexican leaders in the United States. These included:
1. Setting up a cabinet-level department to deal with immigrant issues. Although not directly addressing the issue of migrant representation, it was seen as a way to give Mexicans abroad a permanent voice in the Mexican government (proposed by Efraín Jiménez in his speech)
2. Asking the political parties to nominate migrants to be candidates.
3. Seeking a law to demand a certain number of migrants be candidates.
4. Creating a Mexican political party in the United States that would represent immigrants.
5. Demanding that a certain number of the proportional representatives be set aside for migrant candidates.
6. Seek constitutional changes that would make the United States part of a 6th geographical region to be represented in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies and thereby ensure a minimal number of migrant representatives.
Number two appears to have failed. It was the subject of the speech by Jiménez and critical comments by other Mexican immigrant leaders.
At the time of the April 2009 CCIME conference, there appears to have been a move to get the Chamber of Deputies to pass a law making a certain number of immigrant candidates mandatory.
The article cited above, for example, ends with this paragraph:
"For her part, the Democratic Senator from Utah, Luz Robles, accompanied Quintana and Gerardo Trejo, advisor of the IME for Indianapolis, to the Chamber of Deputies to ask the parties that they pass a law in which is included by obligation a quota of migrant candidates in the 2012 elections."
("Por su parte, la senadora demócrata de Utah, Luz Robles, acompañó a Quintana y a Gerardo Trejo, consejero del IME por Indianápolis, a la Cámara de Diputados para pedir a los partidos que aprueben una ley en la cual se incluya por obligación una cuota de candidatos migrantes en las elecciones del 2012.")
Isn't that a rather strange thing for a state senator from the United States to be doing?
In all fairness, even though the article that mentions Luz Robles going to the Chamber of Deputies appeared in a number of news outlets, it comes from a single source. To judge the credibility of the claim, therefore, we have to examine the larger context surrounding it.
First, of course, is the mention of Luz Robles in the article. The article was written by Federico Campbell Peña, who appears to be a respected and credible journalist. But even journalists can make mistakes.
Second, the article was widely distributed and ended up in various Mexican news outlets.
Third, we also have as a clue the exuberant welcome given to Luz Robles by Efraín Jiménez in his speech at the CCIME - a welcome that seems to imply that he was glad to see her beyond just being pleasantly surprised - perhaps because she would help in the effort to get more migrant representation that his speech called for.
Fourth, we also have the odd presence of Luz Robles at the CCIME in the first place. Why was she there? Certainly, there could be a variety of reasons and maybe she was in Mexico City or even at the CCIME meeting for more than one purpose. Even so, fulfilling other purposes would not necessarily conflict with an effort to increase migrant representation in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies.
Fifth, the article also mentions a Gerardo Trejo and says he was an advisor of the CCIME.
Who is Gerardo Trejo?
The name "Gerardo" is probably incorrect. It likely is "Germán Trejo."
The reasons are as follows:
a. He is mentioned in the article as being an advisor of the CCIME. In both the list of advisors and the profiles for the CCIME for the the groups 2006 - 2008 and 2009 - 2011, there is no Gerardo Trejo listed. However, there is a Germán Trejo in the 2006 -2008 group.
b. The article says he is from Indianapolis. This is the jurisdiction area listed for Germán Trejo in the directory.
c. Germán Trejo has a close relationship with Luz Robles - they both served on the same CCIME commission (political affairs) for a time. Germán Trejo, you may recall, was also a significant advisor to Luz Robles' state senate campaign - contributing $6,000.00 in in-kind contributions pre-convention in 2008 (http://immigrationutah.
d. The same journalist referred to Germán Trejo as "Gerardo" in a previous article (http://www.cimacnoticias.com.
e. But, if Germán Trejo was an advisor for the 2006 - 2008 group, is there any reason to believe he was in Mexico City during the April 2009 CCIME conference and that he attended the conference?
The Commission on Political Affairs of the CCIME held two meetings during the April 2009 conference. The minutes for these meetings indicate that Germán Trejo was expected to attend the first meeting, but did not make it for some reason. Mr. Mike Gonzalez tells us that a report of the previous (2006 - 2008) commission's work could not be made at that time because Germán Trejo was not present (http://www.ime.gob.mx/images/
Incidentally, among a variety of proposed topics for the new commission to work on, a couple of relevant issues for our discussion were outlined:
1. "Vote in the exterior, law reform for the vote of the emigrant" ("Voto en el Extranjero, Reforma de Ley la para el Voto del Emigrante")
2. "Emigrant representation in Congress" ("Representation Emigrante en el Congreso")
Luz Robles attended this meeting of the Political Affairs Commission of the CCIME in which the issue of immigrant representation in the Mexican congress was placed on the agenda.
Although the minutes do not indicate that Luz Robles attended the second meeting of this commission, they do indicate that Germán Trejo did - as several comments are attributed to him. Luz Robles was possibly attending another commission (Legal Affairs) that was being held at about the same time (http://www.ime.gob.mx/images/
It is possible that Mr. Trejo was attending the meeting as a "transition advisor," i.e., someone helping with the transition from the previous group of advisors to the new group. He is mentioned as being a transition advisor at: http://portal.sre.gob.mx/
We have now determined that Gerardo Trejo is actually Germán Trejo - a close associate of Luz Robles. We also know that he was in Mexico in April 2009 and attended at least one commission meeting of the CCIME.
Germán Trejo, according to the Federico Campbell Peña article, was one of those who went to the Chamber of Deputies to push for a migrant deputy quota law.
Is there other evidence of Mr. Trejo's interest in this goal?
One avenue of pressure for immigrant leaders was to attempt to deliver a letter to President Obama during his visit to Mexico City in April 2009 and ask him to not meet with "anti-immigrant" leaders in Mexico, i.e., Mexican politicians who were impeding the goal of migrant representation in the Chamber of Deputies. A complaint was also made to the National Commission for Human Rights in Mexico.
From an article which discusses the issue:
"Mexican immigrant leaders reported that PAN, PRI and PRD have excluded their community from the national political agenda and from the legislative spaces for proportional representation.
They went to the National Commission of Human Rights to complain about violations of their political rights. They revealed, by way of a letter, a request to U.S. President, Barack Obama, not to meet with anti-immigrant Mexican politicians during his visit to our country."
("Líderes de inmigrantes mexicanos denunciaron que PAN, PRI y PRD han excluido a su comunidad de la agenda política nacional y de los espacios legislativos de representación proporcional.
Acudieron a la Comision Nacional de los Derechos Humanos para quejarse por violaciones a sus derechos políticos. Ahí revelaron que, por medio de una carta, solicitaron ya al presidente estadunidense, Barack Obama, no se reúna con políticos mexicanos antiinmigrantes durante su visita a nuestro país.")
Germán Trejo was a key figure in this activity as was Fabián Morales:
"At the CNDH, attended Fabián Morales, of the Confederation of Mexican Federations in the Midwest, based in Chicago and which groups about 300 thousand countrymen; and Germán Trejo, of the coordination of immigrant affairs of LULAC, another Hispanic-Latino organization with 250,000 affiliated [people]."
("A la CNDH asistieron Fabián Morales, de la Confederación de Federaciones Mexicanas del Medio Oeste, con sede en Chicago y la cual agrupa alrededor de 300 mil paisanos; y Germán Trejo, de la coordinación de asuntos migratorios de LULA, otra organización hispanolatina con 250 mil afiliados.")
The article can be found at: http://www.cronica.com.mx/
The article was significant enough for the CCIME to reproduce part of it and link to it in their "Lazos" for April 14, 2009:
Trejo and Morales, also made their concerns known about the political situation in another article which appeared mid-April:
Germán Trejo was also interviewed sometime in April 2009 - in conjunction with his role in LULAC as chair of the immigrant affairs commission of that organization. The interview appears to have taken place in Mexico sometime around the anticipated visit of President Obama to Mexico in April 2009. The interview was done by the Mexican news organization, Reporte Indigo. In this video, Mr. Trejo takes up the themes of criticizing politicians and parties in Mexico that are impeding immigrant representation.
In the interview, he makes the following interesting comment:
"...I was in teleconferences in the last, the last few weeks with the immigrant leadership, people like Senator Luz Robles, the highest elected immigrant here in the United States, people named by governments to represent the Hispanic community who are immigrants ... with the leaders of the major federations of the major immigrant groups... Efraín Jiménez with the Zacatecanos ... "
("...estaba yo en teleconferencias en las ultimas, las ultimas semanas con el liderazgo inmigrante, gente como la senadora Luz Robles, la inmigrante electa de la mas altagera aqui en los estados unidos, gente nombrada por gobiernos para representar a la comunidad hispana que son inmigrantes...con los lideres de las federaciones mas importantes de los grupos de inmigrantes mas importantes...Efraín Jiménez con los zacatecanos..."
The video (Reporte Indigo - "Ha llegado el momento de decir Ya Basta!") is available at:
Germán Trejo, the man who is reported to have gone to the Chamber of Deputies with Luz Robles and Javier Quintana to petition for an immigrant candidate quota law, was in teleconferences with Luz Robles and Efraín Jiménez?
If accurate, this would mean that, at some level, Luz Robles was part of this discussion process about the problem of a lack of immigrant representation in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies and of how to correct the situation.
This would have preceded her presence in Mexico at the CCIME conference in April 2009 and would make the report of her going to the Chamber of Deputies (to promote a law to ensure a minimal representation of immigrants) a very reasonable action, given the larger context of the efforts to ensure immigrant representation in the Mexican legislature.
Mr. Trejo also mentions Efraín Jiménez as an individual who was part of the process. Mr. Jiménez, you may recall, was the speaker at the CCIME conference who made such a fuss about Luz Robles being in attendance and then went on to address the very same themes as Mr. Trejo did in his interview.
Imagine, a Utah state senator working to ensure that Mexican immigrants in America have representatives in the Mexican legislature.
If Senator Luz Robles was part of such an effort, it seems massively in conflict with her role as an elected leader in the United States.
So, how did all these efforts turn out?
On August 22, 2009 a working meeting was held of the Political Affairs Commission of the CCIME at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago. The meeting was outlined in the August 2009 Newsletter of the CCIME and among proposals considered at the meeting, the following was put forth:
"Political rights of Mexicans abroad: it was agreed to support the alliance between the political parties with a presence in the U.S. to promote the political rights of Mexicans abroad; also the modification of the Constitution and the Electoral Law to create the sixth nominal circumscription."
("Derechos políticos de los mexicanos en el exterior: se acordó respaldar la alianza entre los partidos políticos con presencia en EU para promover los derechos políticos de los mexicanos en el extranjero; así como la modificación de la Constitución y la Ley Electoral para crear la sexta circunscripción nominal.")
In attendance at this meeting was Jorge Mújica.
Mújica was a new advisor from Chicago on the CCIME in 2009 and was at the Political Affairs Commission meeting in April 2009 - the meeting also attended by Luz Robles - the meeting where immigrant representation was placed on the work agenda. He also appears to be an associate of Fabián Morales, who was in Mexico in April 2009 and coordinating with Germán Trejo, Luz Robles' close associate, to deliver a letter to President Obama to not-meet with Mexican leaders who were impeding immigrant representation.
At the Political Affairs Commission of the CCIME meeting held in November 2009 (oddly enough, on Friday the 13th), Jorge Mújica proposes some modifications to a much more detailed proposal that would make the United States part of a new 6th circumscription.
If enacted, this proposal would turn the United States into a geographic area from which Mexicans would elect both deputies and senators on a proportional basis. The number suggested in the document would be 15 deputies and 5 senators. Given that most Mexican migrants live in the U.S., most of these deputies and senators would be from the U.S. Mr. Mújica makes the following comment:
"Jorge Múgica [sic] makes a proposal for reform of the reform. (see the above points) Of the 500 deputies, 300 are district and 200 are plurinominals [proportional]. It is proposed to add the number of deputies and senators. There is a movement in Mexico to reduce the number of lawmakers. We do not want to add to it but, within the existing number, to make a special allocation of migrants. We want 25 or a fixed number to be determined."
("Jorge Múgica hace una propuesta de la reforma de la reforma. (ver arriba los puntos) De los 500 diputados, 300 son distrito y 200 plurinominales. Se propuso agregar el número de diputados y senadores. Hay un movimiento en México de reducir el número de legisladores. No queremos agregarle sino que dentro del número existente se haga una asignación especial de migrantes. Queremos 25 o un número fijo por determinar.")
The minutes for this meeting and a copy of the more detailed proposal can be accessed at:
Another of the proposals in this detailed document is that a Mexican elected from abroad could not hold a simultaneous position with a foreign government.
Recall that Fabián Morales was in Mexico in April 2009 with Germán Trejo trying to deliver a letter to Barack Obama about the immigrant representation issue. It is also likely that Mr. Morales is connected to Jorge Mújica in a significant way. Mr. Morales was an instrumental figure in the "Movimiento 10 de Marzo" organization, which put together the coalition that led to the massive pro-amnesty march in Chicago on March 10, 2006. Jorge Mújica was also a key figure in this movement.
Jorge Mújica and Fabián Morales were also seeking political office in the Chicago area in 2009, along with another figure from the Movimiento 10 de Marzo organization, Omar Lopez. Omar Lopez was running for a position as a Cook Country commissioner. Fabián Morales was seeking to become a state representative. Jorge Mújica was seeking to become a congressman in the Illinois third congressional district.
Omar Lopez and Fabián Morales were former advisors on the CCIME during the 2006 - 2008 period - at the time Luz Robles and Germán Trejo served.
Jorge Mújica was a new advisor to the CCIME in 2009.
Let's stop a second and ponder Mr. Mújica's actions and positions:
Mújica is a significant Mexican immigrant leader. He was a member of the advisory board, the CCIME, that represented immigrant issues to the Mexican government. In addition, he was pushing for immigrant representation in the Mexican Congress as part of his work on the CCIME. These changes would essentially result in the United States becoming a represented geographic area for electing deputies and senators to the Mexican legislature. Mr. Mújica was doing this while himself seeking to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
This boggles the mind in its brazenness.
Mr. Mújica lost in the 2010 primary.
If he had won the primary and gone on to win the general election, we would have had a sitting U.S. congressman who was seeking the right to have Mexican immigrants be elected in the United States to serve in the Mexican legislature on behalf of those immigrants.
These changes being proposed in 2009 do not appear to have be enacted so far. A look at the current votoextranjero.mx website seems to indicate that the situation today is the same as it was in 2009. Mexicans abroad can vote for the Mexican president, but not for other federal offices (http://www.votoextranjero.mx/
It is interesting to note that Mexicans who have dual-nationality can vote for the Mexican president from abroad.
That would be an interesting question for Senator Robles. Did she vote in the Mexican presidential election this year (2012) or previously in 2006?
By way of conclusion:
We see that Luz Robles was mysteriously in Mexico City in April 2009. She was reported to have gone to the Chamber of Deputies to push for a law to create a quota of migrant legislators. We also see that in the context of other efforts to push for greater Mexican immigrant representation in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, that her presence, if the report is correct, would have been very reasonably compatible with those efforts.
It is hard to gauge the role Luz Robles may have played in these efforts. On the one hand, perhaps she had little or no involvement. Or, she may have had the involvement outlined here. Could she have been even more involved in the effort to push for greater immigrant representation? Difficult to say.
Perhaps Senator Robles would publicly outline for us exactly what her positions are on this matter and precisely why she traveled to Mexico City in April 2009 and what role she may have played in the efforts described here.
Is Luz Robles, therefore, planning to run for Congress in Mexico?
That is also hard to say.
Right now, it appears to not be possible unless changes are made in the Mexican election system.
Even if Luz Robles is not interested in serving in Mexico's Chamber of Deputies or had little or no involvement in the efforts to ensure immigrant representation in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, the larger context must be considered.
The fact that efforts were underway to create a representative system for Mexicans in the U.S. within the Mexican governmental structure ought to be something that every American carefully ponder.
The impacts and challenges to our sovereignty, for instance, and to the idea of assimilation to American society and culture by immigrants would be seriously challenged.
Note: This post is a greatly expanded revision of the corresponding section of the "Luz Robles Report" ("Senator Robles Attends the CCIME After Taking Office") - which is available at ufire.net at: https://sites.google.com/site/
For More Information about the CCIME: The CCIME is an advisory board to the Mexican government. Ms. Robles was part officially part of this board from 2006 -2008. For more information about the board and Ms. Robles' role within it, please visit the following two sites: