October 19, 2013
More than 24,000 Mexicans live in Western North Carolina, according to the Consulate General of Mexico’s Raleigh, N.C., office. Nearly 9,000 of them live in Buncombe County, and about 8,500 in Henderson County. For the past three years, the Consulate has brought its office to Asheville so that these legal immigrants can get help with a variety of needs.
“Without the proper identification, people who have immigrated to this country from Mexico cannot even get a library card, let alone utilities or a bank account,” says Carolina McCready, co-director of the nonprofit El Centro of Henderson County. To overcome such barriers and help meet vital identification needs in the local Mexican community, El Centro is hosting a visit from the Mexican Consulate on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the WNC AG Center in the Expo Building.
Usually, in order to process the paperwork needed to obtain/renew passports, Mexican ID cards or power of attorney, WNC immigrants have to go to the Mexican Consulate’s office in Raleigh, which requires taking time off of work and taking children away from school. In addition to eight hours of driving, most visits require many hours at the Consulate office and an overnight stay. These logistics present an insurmountable challenge for many Mexicans living in this area, say organizers of the October event.