Saturday, October 20, 2012

Luz Robles' Mexico Meeting with a Mexican Legislative Commission in February 2007:

The Deseret News reported on February 20, 2007, that several members of a Utah legislative committee walked out of a committee meeting of the Utah House of Representatives the previous day ("Sponsor suspects ID-verificaton bill was quashed by House committee,"  As a result, a quorum was lost and an immigration bill, which would have required businesses doing business with the state to verify the identity of their new employees, was sent back to the Rules Committee.

The bill was sponsored by Representative Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem).  Rep. Sandstrom, according to the article, felt he had the votes to pass the bill out of committee on that occasion. 

Rep. Sandstrom stated: "The thing that outrages me the most is the state Office of Ethnic Affairs torpedoes this bill."

Why would he think this?

Because, according to Rep. Sandstrom, Luz Robles, the Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs, had been talking to some of the committee members before his bill came up.  Luz Robles stated in the same article that she was merely providing "data" to the lawmakers and that she didn't know why they had left.  She also stated:  "I didn't even know they didn't have a quorum...If they ask for information, even Rep. Sandstrom, we can provide that information." 

Sounds just a bit disingenuous, doesn't it?

Why was she at the committee hearing in the first place?

Different people will see this situation and interpret Ms. Robles' actions differently.  Some will say she intentionally acted to undermine Rep. Sandstrom's bill.  Some will say that she did not. 

Were these alleged actions by Luz Robles merely legislative high jinks? 

Were they acceptable strategies to get the important work done to serve the best interests of Utah and the U.S. as she perceived it?

Or were the alleged actions indicative of a worldview being carried out by Ms. Robles that was not concerned with what was best for the nation as a whole at all - except as it overlapped with what she might really have been after, i.e., what was best for Mexicans living in the U.S., whether legally or illegally?

Would it help to decide this question if it were known that Luz Robles was in Mexico on February 15, 2007 - just four days before the committee meeting mentioned above?

Would it help to know that it is highly likely that, while in Mexico, she met with the Federal Election Institute (Instituto Federal Electoral - IFE) of the Mexican government?

Would it help to know that it is certain that she met, while in Mexico, with members of the Foreign Relations Commission of the Chamber of Deputies of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies?

Luz Robles, while serving the State of Utah as the Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs, met with Mexican government officials in Mexico just four days before the Utah House committee meeting discussed in the Deseret News article.

Are the meetings in Mexico and the alleged actions of Luz Robles during the committee meeting connected?

In a direct sense, there is no evidence to make such a link.

In the less direct sense, of someone acting out of her personal ideology, the answer is probably yes.

It is reasonable to assume that meeting with Mexican officials and later allegedly sabotaging the legislative process in Utah are in line with Luz Robles' political impulses to advance the goal of accommodating illegal immigrants. 

But is that all she is interested in? 

What were those meetings in Mexico all about?

The Mexican Federal Election Institute (Instituto Federal Electoral or IFE) is an independent and autonomous agency of the Mexican government which oversees federal elections for president and the Mexican legislature, helps to coordinate election policies, and investigates and responds to complaints about elections. 

A key area of work for the CCIME** was to promote the vote for Mexicans living abroad.  This goal was achieved and led to the government creating voting mechanisms for Mexicans abroad to vote in the 2006 Mexican presidential election.  The proposals for the vote for Mexicans living abroad would have passed through the IFE at some point and would also have been an area of continued interest and work for both the IFE and the CCIME (which represents Mexicans living in the exterior).

In a February 20, 2007 bulletin of the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME - #53, "Lazos Voto") a working meeting between IFE officials and members of the Legal Affairs Commission of the CCIME was reported on.  The purpose of the meeting was to ""talk about the gains and challenges of the vote of the Mexicans residing in the exterior" ("dialogar sobre los alcances y retos del voto de los mexicanos residentes en el extranjero").  The information was distributed through the CCIME's "Lazos Voto" e-mail bulletin network.  The bulletins sent through this information network regarding the vote in the exterior are sent at the request of the IFE. 

This particular bulletin can be accessed at:

The document does not list any specific members of this commission of the CCIME who may have been in attendance. 

Would it be reasonable to assume that Luz Robles was at this meeting?

Consider this:  Luz Robles was the coordinator of the very commission of the CCIME that was meeting with the Mexican elections institute. 

While it is certainly possible that Luz Robles may not have been at this meeting, there is additional evidence that makes the assumption that she was at the meeting the stronger assumption to make.

She was in Mexico on the same day as this meeting with the IFE.
This other meeting, which was certainly attended by Luz Robles, was held with members of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chamber of Deputies of the Congress of Mexico (similar to the U.S. House of Representatives). 

This is significant because it shows Ms. Robles meeting with Mexican officials outside of the bi-annual conferences of the CCIME.

The meeting appears to be in conjunction with her role as the Coordinator of the Legal Affairs Commission of the CCIME.

This was also during the time that she was Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs.

The information about the meeting being held comes from a type of log of meetings that can be found at:

The notation is as follows:

"February 15, 2007. Meeting of the Foreign Relations Commission with advisors of the Institute of Mexicans in the Exterior (IME).

A working meeting was held between members of the Foreign Relations Committee and the advisors of the IME Luz Robles, Reyna Polanco and Federico Castelán and the former advisor Roberto de la Rosa.                                                                                                                                                                     In the meeting issues were discussed such as social security funds of the migrants, the rights of the undocumented and the raids against the migrants, among others."
("15 de febrero de 2007. Reunión de la Comisión de Relaciones Exteriores con consejeros del Instituto de Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME).

Se llevó a cabo una reunión de trabajo entre miembros de la Comisión de Relaciones Exteriores y los consejeros del IME Luz Robles, Reyna Polanco y Federico Castelán, y el ex consejero Roberto de la Rosa. 

                    En la reunión se abordaron temas como los fondos del seguro social de los migrantes, los derechos de los indocumentados y las redadas contra los migrantes, entre otros.")
What was the Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs doing in Mexico discussing these issues with Mexican legislators? 

Does this sound like something in her Utah job description?

Is there more information available about this meeting? 

There certainly is.

There is a transcript of the meeting itself. 

The link to the transcript is not a direct one from another website, but is a pdf file that comes up without a web address to a specific website when accessed.  If you type the following into Google you should be brought to a link that you can open as a pdf file:

IME_15 de Febrero de 2007 - El presidente, diputado Gerardo

Click on the item with the same title on the Google search list (which will possibly bring up only two documents) and you should be able to download the document.

The other route is to use the Google's quick look link below (derived from the Google entry above):,+diputado+Gerardo&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgxYXYFPdN4G0NggO80FPBEcHLkFJBZbsVezBr1vyNae9G6lh8cbUSqDJZtD3sY7zZtE_g82LlJYC0MW4BvWOloh2-6cK4YsVI8lY7OoBYV0PHXicTtjs8N65eEKz7UJ5yUMWYr&sig=AHIEtbTBF2VHQw3j5Aa2_6P0089c45rvLw

The link directly to the article, as derived from the google quick look link, is:,+diputado+Gerardo&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgxYXYFPdN4G0NggO80FPBEcHLkFJBZbsVezBr1vyNae9G6lh8cbUSqDJZtD3sY7zZtE_g82LlJYC0MW4BvWOloh2-6cK4YsVI8lY7OoBYV0PHXicTtjs8N65eEKz7UJ5yUMWYr&sig=AHIEtbTBF2VHQw3j5Aa2_6P0089c45rvLw

When reading this document it is important to recall that Luz Robles is the Coordinator for the Legal Affairs Commission of the CCIME. 

The document makes clear that the meeting was held at the request of Humberto Ballesteros of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Mexico (SRE - Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores), who appears to function as the liaison with the legislative commission of the Chamber of Deputies.  The original entry talking about the participants from the log above mentions only four individuals from the CCIME attending the meeting.  In fact, there were eight individuals: five current advisors of the CCIME, one former advisor of the CCIME, one official of the IME, and the mysterious Javier Rodriguez.

During the meeting, Luz Robles speaks as Coordinator of the Legal Affairs Commission of the CCIME, and asks the others there with her to introduce themselves.  This introductory process begins with Ms. Robles herself. 

She makes this comment: 

"Currently I work with the governor and we have had the opportunity to have a very good relationship between the state of Utah and the government of Mexico since he became governor."

("Actualmente trabajo con el gobernador y hemos tenido la oportunidad de tener muy buena relacion entre el estado de Utah y el gobierno de México desde que él entró como gobernador.")

That governor, of course, was Governor Jon M. Huntsman.

In the exchange below, on page six of the transcript, the deputy president of the legislative commission asks Luz Robles to outline the reasons for the meeting and then another of the CCIME group, who was overlooked in the introductions, introduces himself.

"The Deputy President Gerardo Buganza Salmeron: Okay. Then again let's let Luz Robles make a presentation that [gives] the motivation for this meeting, of the reasons that .... Oh, sorry we missed here--pardon.

Citizen Hector Noriega:  I am Hector Noriega, I am in the Mexican foreign service, an official of the IME, currently deputy director for attention to advisers [of the IME].

The deputy chairman Gerardo Buganza Salmeron: Okay Don Hector, welcome.

The citizen Hector Noriega: Thank you.

Deputy:                              As my colleagues mentioned, we are very happy to be able to be here, as all will realize, ladies and gentlemen deputies are persons who work for the migrant in the United States and I thank you for being here with us also, because it takes a very big effort to be able to come here and leave all your work and your families behind."

("El presidente diputado Gerardo Buganza Salmerón: Muy bien. Entonces nuevamente le dejamos a Luz Robles que nos haga una exposición y motivación de este encuentro, de la razones que…. Ah, nos faltó aquí —perdón.

El ciudadano Héctor Noriega: Yo soy Héctor Noriega, tengo el servicio exterior mexicano, funcionario del IME, actualmente subdirector para atención a consejeros.

El presidente diputado Gerardo Buganza Salmerón: Muy bien don Héctor; bienvenido.

El ciudadano Héctor Noriega: Gracias.

La diputada :                        Como mencionaban los compañeros, estamos muy contentos de poder estar aquí, todos como se podrán dar cuenta, señoras y señores diputados son personalidades que trabajan por el migrante en los Estados Unidos y les agradezco que estén aquí con nosotros también, porque se hace un esfuerzo bien grande para poder venir acá y dejar todo el trabajo y las familias atrás.

The last statement, even though it begins with "La diputada" can only be the words of Luz Robles.  She was given the floor by the deputy president, she is the coordinator of her CCIME commission, and the content clearly flows from the sequence of what just transpired.  The transcriber, from that point on, frequently misses listing the name of who is speaking in the document.  But the words of the section of the document that begins at the end of this exchange are clearly the words of Luz Robles. 

Ms. Robles then proceeds to give an overview of issues that will be discussed by herself and other members of the group during the meeting.  The issues are:

1.  The vote of Mexicans in the exterior.

2.  Immigration reform.

3.  Protection for immigrants, e.g., immigration raids in the U.S.

4.  The rights of Mexican truckers.

5.  Social security benefits for Mexican widows of immigrants.

As part of her lead-in, Luz Robles makes this comment about immigration reform:

"The other point that, I will ask my colleague Reyna to expand upon, is the question of immigration reform. As Mexicans in the United States it is our number one priority. We live not only as Mexicans, but we live the grief of the Mexicans there, that of not being able to have a reform that is comprehensive, that is worthy of humane treatment to anyone."

("El otro punto que, le voy a pedir a la compañera Reyna que amplie, es en la cuestión de la reforma migratoria. Como mexicanos en los Estados Unidos es nuestra prioridad número uno. Nosotros vivimos no nada más como mexicanos, pero vivimos el pesar de los mexicanos allá, el de no poder contar con una reforma que sea integral, que sea digna del trato humano a cualquiera.")

When Luz Robles talks about immigration reform, does she speak as a Mexican who is serving Mexico or as an American citizen who is seeking what is in the best interests of the United States?

As an official of the State of Utah, appointed by Governor Huntsman, did she ever have occasion in her work to address issues that touched upon her relationship with Mexico?  If so, did Luz Robles speak as a Mexican who was serving Mexico or as an American who was seeking what was in the best interests of the United States?

Was it even appropriate for an appointed official of the Utah state government to be meeting with legislators of the Mexican Congress to discuss these issues?

Ms. Robles also briefly mentions the vote for Mexicans in the exterior:

"We believe that logistically it was very difficult to get those votes and many members of our communities felt frustrated by the process. Then one of the things we want to work on is extending that vote, work with the government of Mexico to ensure that that right of Mexicans in the exterior is recognized."

("Creemos que logísticamente era muy difícil conseguir esos votos y muchos miembros de nuestras comunidades se sintieron frustrados de ese proceso. Entonces una de las cosas que queremos trabajar es ampliar ese voto, trabajar con el gobierno de México para asegurarnos que se pueda reconocer ese derecho a los mexicanos en el exterior.")

While serving the State of Utah, as the Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs, Luz Robles was working to strengthen the ties between Mexicans in the United States and Mexico?

Was that in her job description when Governor Jon Huntsman appointed her to her position?

The issue of protection for Mexican immigrants in the U.S. seems to be that the Mexican government, to a large extent through its extensive consular network, should work to protect Mexican immigrants from circumstances of various types that are detrimental to the immigrants.  Luz Robles had this to say on that issue:

"The other is, yes we would like to share with you from the standpoint of protection. We know that the things you can become involved in with United States government are limited, but we fortunately have consulates that have a protection section, but we know they are very limited with the resources that they currently have."

("La otra es, sí nos gustaría compartir con ustedes desde el punto de vista de protección. Sabemos que son limitadas las cosas en las que ustedes pueden involucrarse en el gobierno de Estados Unidos, pero tenemos afortunadamente consulados que tienen una sección de protección, pero sabemos que están muy limitados con los recursos que actualmente tienen.")

She then goes on to mention the December 12, 2006 raids against the Swift Company in 6 states that resulted in 149 Mexicans being detained. 

She then makes this appeal to the deputies:

"We also want to express our concern about the budget in the area of protection and how we can see if that can change, because members of the Consulate do an excellent job, but it is limited; when one begins to think that there are two people to deal with the situation of protection and cover more than 450 thousand Mexicans in an area of half of the country, in the case of the consular jurisdiction of Iota [Iowa], it is almost impossible; then that is another point."

("Queremos también expresar nuestra preocupación en cuanto al presupuesto en el área de protección y cómo podemos ver si eso puede cambiar, porque los miembros del Consulado hacen un trabajo excelente, pero es limitado; cuando uno se pone a pensar que hay dos personas para lidiar con la situación de protección y cubren a más de 450 mil mexicanos en un área de la mitad del país, en el caso de la jurisdicción consultar de Iota [Iowa], es casi imposible; entonces ése es otro punto.")

Luz Robles, as the Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs, is in a meeting with legislators from the Chamber of Deputies of the Mexican government and is asking them to increase the consular budget for protection of Mexicans in the United States?


Moving from this topic Ms. Robles mentions her fellow advisor, Federico [Castelan], who will bring up the topics of truckers' rights and social security for Mexican widows living in Mexico (who lost their husbands while the husbands were working in the U.S.).  It is quite clear that Ms. Robles is describing the U.S. social security system at this point.  The issue will be discussed by Mr. Castelan extensively with the legislators a bit later in the meeting.

Reyna Polanco picks up after Luz Robles in the sequence of presentations and discusses the issue of immigration reform.

Ms. Polanco discusses the "anti-immigrant" climate in the U.S. and the fact that states are creating their own "anti-immigrant" laws.  She also talks of the suffering of the immigrants in the U.S. 

Ms. Polanco then tells the deputies about how the Mexican communities are organizing:

"I think what we are doing now, [the] different organizations, is a very important point:  organizing ourselves to be able to strengthen this comprehensive and fair immigration reform."

("Creo que lo que estamos haciendo ahorita diferentes organizaciones es un punto muy importante: el de organizarnos para poder reforzar esa reforma migratoria comprensiva y justa.")

She ends her presentation with an appeal to the deputies:

"But what we ask is your support, as deputies, as legislators, that you support us and understand the issue that we have as migrants. Thank you very much."

("Pero lo que pedimos nosotros es el apoyo de ustedes, como diputados, como legisladores, para que nos apoyen y comprendan la temática que tenemos como migrantes. Muchas gracias.")

And so it went, presentations were given that covered the five topics outlined by Luz Robles at the beginning of the meeting. 

Some additional issues were raised as well. 

For example, needing a passport for travel was raised by one advisor.  Apparently, the new U.S. laws requiring a passport to re-enter the U.S. created a need for many Mexicans to seek such passports at consulates which are having a tough time keeping up with the demand.  They could travel to Mexico by plane, but could not return by plane without a passport. 

The one individual present with the group who was not apparently connected with the CCIME or the IME was Javier Rodriguez.

Why was he part of the group and who is he?

He helps to solve this little mystery himself when he introduces himself in the meeting:

"Citizen Javier Rodriguez:  My name is Javier Rodríguez, I come from Los Angeles, from the birthplace of the immigrant rights movement in the United States. I come representing the March 25 Coalition, we are the organization that mobilized one million 700 thousand people on March 25 [2006], counted digitally. And we also galvanized the country, mobilized the country for the first national strike for immigration reform and against the criminalization of our immigrant peoples and we are now on the eve, I come here to promote on behalf of the National May 1st Movement the next national strike will be not only on the rights of migrants and immigration reform, but also an effort to stop the war in Iraq; and other demands of the peoples and communities in the United States. Thank you very much."

("El ciudadano Javier Rodríguez: Mi nombre es Javier Rodríguez, vengo de Los Ángeles, de la cuna del movimiento de los derechos de los inmigrantes en los Estados Unidos. Vengo representando a la Colación 25 de Marzo, somos la organización que movilizó un millón 700 mil personas el 25 de marzo, contadas digitalmente. Y nosotros también galvanizamos el país, movilizamos el país hacia el primer paro nacional por la reforma migratoria y en contra de la criminalización de nuestros pueblos migrantes y estamos ahora en vísperas, vengo aquí a promover a nombre del Movimiento Nacional 1º. de Mayo el siguiente paro nacional que va a ser no solamente sobre los derechos de los migrantes y la reforma migratoria, sino también un esfuerzo para parar la guerra en Iraq; y otras demandas de los pueblos y las comunidades en los Estados Unidos. Muchas gracias.")

What an interesting fellow to have at the meeting.

The March 25 Coalition? 

What's that all about?

The March 25 Coalition was the umbrella organization that coordinated efforts to promote the mass pro-immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006 and the follow-up May 1, 2006 Latino walk-outs in Los Angeles.  They also worked to bring about follow-up actions in the following years.  The following description appears to be from a "Media Advisory" from the organization and was posted by the National May 1st Movement organization on the website:
"The March 25 Coalition is the LA based umbrella organization which organized the March 25, 2006 1.7 million Mega March in LA, galvanized the country for the May 1 Great American Boycott and it is a founding member of the May 1 National Movement for Workers and Immigrant Rights, which is a national coalition composed of over 100 organizations which convened the May 1 Great American Boycott II 2007 after a national conference held in Feb 2007 at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.”

Isn't it interesting that Mr. Javier Rodriquez, a representative of the March 25 Coalition, was at this meeting in Mexico?

It would also be very interesting to have Luz Robles give us more information about how he came to be at this meeting and what other discussions may have taken place between Mr. Javier Rodriguez, of the March 25 Coalition, and members of Luz Robles' CCIME commission.

Given that Luz Robles was in Mexico four days prior to the Utah legislative hearing described at the beginning of this section, and given the fact that she was working on the issues outlined above, would it not be reasonable to ask whether or not Luz Robles was acting out of a personally held set of views that seek the best interests of Mexico and Mexicans over the interests of the United States?

**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:

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