The new Consul General of Mexico visited Starke County this week. Eduardo Arnal, visited with Starke County Development Director Charles Weaver in his Knox office. The northern part of Indiana is under Arnal’s jurisdiction, and he was visiting several counties to offer the services of his office with any questions officials might need answered.
Arnal said sooner or later the United States needs to have immigration reform. He said, “It’s simple. The U.S. needs our workers, and right now the laws make it almost impossible to enter legally.”
Weaver said the Mexican population in Starke County is small, but thought the residents here would be surprised at how many are working in our factories.
“Starke County has an Hispanic population of about 3.3 percent,” explained Weaver. “80 percent of that population are of Mexican ancestry. There are a number of Mexican population working within some of the businesses in Starke County. The majority of those workers are working here from other counties and then they return home. So, what we’re going to see as far as a population shift, I have no idea.”
Weaver said he is pleased to connect with the Mexican Consul General because of the possibility of partnering with industries in Mexico.
“The reason we see to work with the Consulate in Mexico is that should there be a change, we have another resource. Should we also have an opportunity to partner with industries in Mexico and our local industries, this is an avenue to start that conversation.”
Arnal also spoke of problems in Mexico including the drug cartels and illegal weapons trafficking.
There are 128 counties in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana that Arnal is responsible for providing assistance. He said the Consulate stands ready to assistant in any area where there might be problems involving Mexicans.
Weaver indicated he would be interested in having Arnal and his staff back into the county to meet other officials and residents.