GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Mexico’s Consule General was at East Carolina University Wednesday night to discuss migration from, and to, Mexico.
Her remarks were part of a broader migration symposium that’s been taking place at ECU all week.
Remedios Gomez has been a Consule General for Mexico for more than a decade, studying international relations and looking at ways to improve the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.
Gomez explained the history of migration from Mexico to the United States, starting during the World War II era, when Mexican workers were needed in America to work the fields while men went overseas to fight.
The joint program between the two countries continued until the 1960s, when it was suspended. But, since employers and farmers had gotten comfortable working with Mexican labor, the migration and unauthorized workers coming from Mexico continued.
Gomez said that trend has slowed, and in some cases, reversed over the past few years. Since 2014, she said more people have come back to Mexico from the U.S. than left.
As Consule General, Gomez serves the Mexican community in North and South Carolina. She said things are very tense with the recent immigration executive orders from President Donald Trump.
She has also heard reports of Mexican children being bullied and taunted at school.
“We are very active, sending letters and talking to the educational supervisors and to directors of schools,” she said.
Gomez also discussed the proposed border wall, standing with Mexico’s President in saying the country wouldn’t pay for the wall. She said the best solution to the immigration problems is working together.
She estimated nearly 200,000 jobs in North Carolina could be in jeopardy if trade with Mexico were to cease.
Once her remarks were done, a panelists of experts tackled a variety of topics about migration. Among them was national security.
ECU Political Scientist Dr. Armin Krishnan said one study shows a 650% increase in deaths from terrorist attacks in the western countries since 2015.
He said one big issue is inadequate vetting.
“They can only check the various terrorism databases that they have,” he said. “So they have a list of people who they know that are terrorist, but obviously those lists are not complete.”
He said there are some correlations with an increase in migration and increase in deaths from terror attacks. He said one solution is slowing down the number of refugees until countries can come up with a better vetting process.