Wednesday, June 5, 2013 | 6:12 p.m.
Beyond the Sun
The new Mexican consul in Las Vegas, Julian Adem, has laid out an ambitious agenda for the next few years, and the local Mexican Consulate’s workload may get a lot larger if Congress approves immigration-reform legislation.
But first things first. Adem, despite previous posts in Dallas and Los Angeles, had never been to the Silver State until he started his latest diplomatic assignment.
“I’ve never had an opportunity to come to Nevada,” he said, pronouncing the state like the Spanish word for “snow-covered” and not as locals do with an emphasis on the third, fourth and fifth letters of the word.
“Ne-VAD-a,” he quickly corrected himself. “It has to be pronounced that way, I read somewhere, or people will get offended.”
Adem, 53, is a native of Mexico City who has been in Mexico’s foreign service for 26 years, including previous posts in the consulates in Dallas and Los Angeles. He most recently served as the director general for protection of Mexicans abroad in Mexico City, where he worked on cases of abuse of Mexican nationals. He arrived in Las Vegas on June 1.
“I always compare it to the armed forces — you have to go up the ladder,” he said. “So, for me as a career diplomat, particularly one specializing in consular affairs, it’s satisfactory to have come up the ladder having started issuing passports, and later on getting involved in legal affairs. It gave me the experience and a liking for this kind of work. I’ve always been interested in promoting community affairs.”
Together with his superiors in Mexico, Adem has laid out several priorities for the consulate in the coming years.
All Mexican Consulates are working on technological innovations to better serve people and improve the security of documents they issue.
Last week, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a new law that will allow immigrants in the country without legal residency to obtain driver’s privilege cards.
The consulate is expecting an influx of people in need of identifying documents, such as the “matricula consular,” an official identification card issued by the Mexican government.
“If and when” immigration reform legislation is passed, Adem said, the consulate must be prepared to receive a wave of Mexican nationals, by far the largest immigrant group in Las Vegas, seeking birth certificates and other records, and he could possibly request additionally staffing.
Adem also is focused on protecting Mexicans from “notary publics and unscrupulous lawyers” who seek to take advantage of changes in immigration law by charging for services that are never delivered or are unavailable to the particular client.
Additionally, domestic violence is an issue within the immigrant community, as many victims are reluctant to seek help or report crimes to the police. The consulate can help Mexican nationals in applying for special visas that are available for the victims of crimes.
“We also have many different communities of Mexicans here in Las Vegas organized by state,” Adem said. “I’ve looked into it and found there are 115 organizations of Mexican nationals. I’d like to meet with the principal leaders to collaborate and also address the particular concerns.”
Other goals under the new consul include expanding services to Northern Nevada, which is served by a “mobile consulate” that visits Carson City and Reno regularly; promote social, educational and cultural programs in the Mexican community; and promote business and tourism between Mexico and Nevada.
“Not everything we do is legal, and immigration matters,” he said. “We have a commitment to intensify the exchange between Mexico and Nevada. We want to augment the connections, with businesses from Nevada going into Mexico and vice versa.”
Adem noted that every year, 400,00 airline passengers from Mexico come to Las Vegas, and the Mexican government is eager to expand tourism links.
Adem is replacing Mariano Lemus, who left the post in January after eight years.
Adem’s wife and 17 year-old daughter, who was born in Dallas and started school in the United States, will join him later this summer.
“It’s important that we all work together,” Adem said of his philosophy as he enters the position. “I think we must accept a diversity of points of view. … We want to be as inclusive as possible and (see) that all the states of Mexico have their say and groups representing different political parties have their say. Locally, hopefully we can act as a conciliator and bring opposing groups together.”