Whatever happened to Juan Hernandez?
Juan Hernandez was the first and only director of Mexico's recently-abolished Presidential Office for Mexicans Abroad. A dual citizen of both the U.S. and Mexico, Hernandez was born in the U.S.A. to a Mexican father and American mother, raised in Mexico and educated in American universities. In 1995, Hernandez founded the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, with which he is still affiliated.
(One of the guest lecturers invited in the Center's visiting speaker program was noted Mexican writer and reconquista cheerleader Elena Poniatowska, who addressed the center in March of 2002).
In the 1990's, Hernandez became acquainted with Vicente Fox, then a Mexican governor, and later set up the first meeting between Fox and a certain American governor by the name of George W. Bush.
After Fox was elected Mexican president in 2000, he asked Hernandez to head up the new Office for Mexicans Abroad.
The official goals of Hernandez' new office, taken from its official government website, were
"To attend to the millions of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who live in the United States as citizens, residents, temporary workers and illegal aliens....
[para atender a los millones de mexicanos y mexicano-americanos que viven en los Estados Unidos como ciudadanos, residentes, trabajadores temporales o como indocumentados...]
"Dr. Hernandez spends at least three days of each week in the U.S., holding meetings with governors, state and federal officials, and most importantly, with members and leaders of the Mexican communities abroad, from Alaska to Florida, from the Bronx to the east [sic] of the United States. He serves as a channel of communication between President Fox and Mexicans living abroad - hearing their complaints, resolving their needs and problems, and receiving innumerable petitions from millions of Mexicans living in different states in the United States.
"He has also been commissioned to bring a strong and clear message from the President to the Mexicans abroad–Mexico is one nation of 123 million citizens–100 million who live in Mexico and 23 million who live in the United States–and most importantly to say that although far, they are not alone."
That 23 million figure, notice, includes both Mexicans and American citizens of Mexican ancestry. In El Paso, Texas, Hernandez declared that
"We have recognized that the Mexican population is 100 million in Mexico and 23 million who live in the United States.... We are a united nation."
And, speaking in Tucson in April of 2002, Hernandez said that
"Vicente Fox sees the nation of Mexico as being one of 123 million people-100 million people within the borders, and 23 million living outside of Mexico...."
Assimilation? Hernandez said that Mexican immigrants
"are going to keep one foot in Mexico"
and that they
"are not going to assimilate, in the sense of dissolving into not being Mexican." (Denver Post interview, July 11th; 2001.)
And, in an interview on the American news program Nightline, Hernandez stated bluntly that
"We are betting that the Mexican American population in the United States....will think Mexico first."
( Nightline, June 7th 2001)
Note that Hernandez said this while holding U.S. as well as Mexican citizenship. If the U.S. respected its own sovereignty, it would have stripped Juan Hernandez of citizenship instantly. But instead Hernandez was allowed to roam freely and freely meddle in local politics, agitating for driver's licenses for illegal aliens and such.
Now, however, Juan Hernandez' position has been terminated. A new organization has been inaugurated to serve the same ends as Hernandez´office. And Hernandez? He's been offered another new post–that of co-ordinator of presidential records.
The new department, the National Council for Mexican Communities Abroad, will be personally headed up by Vicente Fox and is to include 9 federal dependencies.
So what's going on here? Did Vicente Fox have a change of heart and decide not to meddle in U.S. internal politics anymore?
I wouldn't count on it. The best evidence indicates that what is going on here is a struggle for power within the Fox cabinet. Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda was reportedly not pleased with Hernandez' activities and comments.
Don't suppose for a minute that Jorge Castañeda and Juan Hernandez struggled over ideology or policy goals. Everybody in Fox's cabinet who has anything to do with the matter supports high emigration to the U.S. and does not object to meddling in U.S. politics.
Ditto for the Mexican congressional opposition. It accuses Fox of not having meddled enough.
What apparently displeased Castañeda was that Hernandez, not accountable to the Foreign Ministry, was running around the United States when it was Castañeda's prerogative to negotiate away American immigration policy.
This was a personal struggle over turf, not an ideological difference.
And the foreign minister can play the meddling game as well as Hernandez. Castañeda recently attended the annual LULAC convention. LULAC is an organization claiming to represent American citizens of Latino ancestry. Yet here was the Foreign Minister of Mexico speaking at their convention - another example of the growing fusion between Hispanic politics in the U.S. and Mexican foreign policy.
Speaking to the LULACers, the Mexican foreign minister attacked U.S. immigration policy, blaming it for deaths of migrants in the desert. He called for migration talks leading to an amnesty, and according to the Houston Chronicle (June 27th, 2002), Castañeda
"noted that by lobbying local governments in the United States, the Mexican government has managed to make it easier for illegal immigrants to live a more normal life."
(That means Consular cards, ,etc.)
And, according to "The News, Mexico" (June 28th, 2002)
"The official [Castañeda] urged LULAC convention goers to lobby U.S. legislators to push for immigration accords."
Let that sink in a minute. A Mexican foreign minister goes to the U.S. and gives political instructions to a group of American citizens.
No need to rejoice over Hernandez' departure– Castañeda will more than take up the slack.
Don't forget what Castañeda wrote in his famous 1995 Atlantic Monthly article:
"Some Americans.... dislike immigration, but there is very little they can do about it."
Is Castañeda right? That's up to us to decide.
Fox is still trying to woo the hearts of American citizens of Mexican ancestry. In his address at the council's inaugural ceremony (August 6th, 2002), Fox included among its beneficiaries "persons of Mexican origin" in the U.S. In his weekly radio address four days later, Fox was talking about the "20 million persons of Mexican origin" - which necessarily includes American citizens of Mexican ancestry.
No matter who comes out on top in the Fox cabinet turf wars, that strategy is still intact.
In the meantime, consider one more quote from Juan Hernandez:
"Mexico knows where it wants to go even more clearly than the United States knows where it wants to go."
If that comment refers to each nation's collective political leadership, then Juan Hernandez is exactly right.
American citizen Allan Wall has lived in Mexico since 1991,and is permitted to live and work there thanks to a legal work permit issued by the Mexican government. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here. Readers can contact Allan Wall at email@example.com
August 20, 2002