Legal issues, medical concerns, and voting rights were topics
addressed by Mexican Consul General Bruno Figueroa when he visited
the Morgan Hill Dayworkers Center on Wednesday.
Legal issues, medical concerns, and voting rights were topics addressed by Mexican Consul General Bruno Figueroa when he visited the Morgan Hill Dayworkers Center on Wednesday.
Figueroa told dayworkers the consulate is there to support them with legal help, to assist them in getting a Mexican ID card or a passport and providing low cost medical services.
“There are services the government can provide for you, the Mexican government,” he said. “We are here to make you aware of what is available.”
Figueroa and his staff from the San Jose consulate provided several booklets to the dayworkers to guide them through legal straits.
Perhaps one of the most common questions was how to apply for a Mexican ID card, what kind of documentation is required. Another often-asked topic concerned workers who had been victimized in some way, either threatened with deportation, having pay withheld or being unfairly accused of a crime. Morgan Hill Police Detective Ray Ramos was also on hand to talk to dayworkers about specific incidents.
“It is very, very important for you to understand that immigration law is different, is separate, from criminal law,” Figueroa said. “It is also very, very important for you to remember that you, as a human beings, have basic rights. You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to talk to a lawyer. Just because you are in the country without a green card does not mean you do not have those same rights.”
Eloisa Gamez, program director for the dayworkers center, said she was very pleased Figueroa visited the center.
“There are so many issues, so much information we need to get out to [dayworkers],” she said. “I am pleased the mayor came, other members of the community. It is important that they hear what we are facing.”
Morgan Hill Mayor Dennis Kennedy said he was glad to see the support for the dayworkers. He nodded his head in affirmation as Figueroa told the crowd of nearly 50 they are part of the Morgan Hill community, and they should not be afraid to be a part of it, to report when they have been victimized.
Figueroa said there were no plans to locate a consulate in Morgan Hill. He did say there is a “mobile consulate” that travels to different cities so workers and their families can apply for Mexican IDs.
The mobile consulate will be in Morgan Hill Nov. 25; on Dec. 10, the consulate in San Jose will be open so workers who can’t get there during the week can go on Saturday.