Revised February 2011
There can be little doubt that Senator Robles is friendly, hardworking, dynamic, and obviously involved at many levels in many areas of Utah life. Her tremendous concern and interest in serving people should be admired.
But, those things should not obscure the fact that Senator Luz Robles, while holding a position of trust and authority within the Utah state government, simultaneously held a position of trust and authority within the Mexican government, i.e., representing the interests of Mexican citizens in the U.S. as a member of an elected advisory board accountable to the Mexican government.
Ms. Robles was involved with the government of Mexico at a time when the citizens of Utah had the right to expect her to grant them her full attention and concern.
This should automatically make her views on immigration suspect and any attempt on her part to accommodate illegal aliens within any type of a Utah amnesty a conflict of interest.
The following background information on Senator Robles' involvement has been drawn from documents and information available to the public via the internet. The sources of information are primarily the Mexican government website for the "Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior" (www.ime.gob.mx) and the Deseret News.
The information below is meant to be an overview and not comprehensive, but it does indicate elements that should concern us all, especially the leadership of the Utah State Senate.
An article titled, "Businesses Encouraged to be Politically Active," appeared on the utahpulse.com website dated 09/15/2009. The article was written by Luz Robles as Director of the Zions Business Resource Center.
The link to the article is: http://utahpulse.com/featured_article/businesses-encouraged-be-politically-active
This article appeared during Luz Robles' first year as a Utah State Senator.
She gives some very solid advice for small business owners to be knowledgeable about issues that may impact them locally. She also advises them to be sure to vote. She ends the article with this challenge:
"It's one of your responsibilities as a citizen of this great nation to vote and hold our elected officials accountable."
This document will take up Senator Robles' challenge.
It will focus on information about the behavior of Senator Robles that is unethical and should cause us all concern.
Seeking knowledge about a public official is the first step in the accountability process.
Senator Robles has acted outside of the ethical constraints that she should have observed as an appointed state employee, as a candidate for office, as a candidate-elect, and as an elected official of the State of Utah.
One key to understanding the context in which Ms. Robles acted is to consider the larger domain in which her actions took place. The first step is to thus consider what appears to be a point of view promoted by the Mexican government.
For example, on September 2, 2007, Felipe Calderon, Mexico's current president, made the following statement in his address to the Mexican nation:
"Finally, Mexico does not end at the border. Wherever there is a Mexican, Mexico is there. This is why the actions of the Government in favor of our migrating countrymen is guided by principles, defense and protection of their rights. For this, we are already using all the resources of our consular network for the benefit of Mexicans." [emphasis added]
It would be accurate to interpret this comment as being based on the idea that the Mexican government and many of its people see the "communities" of Mexicans in the U.S. as "Mexican" communities living abroad and not as people who have left Mexico as emigrants and who will eventually become Americans and give up their Mexican identity. They are, rather, people whom the Mexican government and its people should work to have retain their cultural and other ties to Mexico. In other words, they should retain their identity as Mexicans, even as they live and work in the United States.
Other Mexican leaders have given similar statements as that above by Calderon.
Certainly, many Mexicans do return to Mexico. It is unknown how many living in the U.S. wish to retain their ties to Mexico and have little or no intention of ever becoming U.S. citizens or feel that such citizenship is not really relevant to them. It is also unknown how many wish to retain their identity as primarily Mexican rather than strive to create for themselves an American identity. That number may be considerable. It is also unknown how many would return to Mexico if economic conditions improved there.
However, the broader situation which currently exists, which ought to cause us all concern, is the presence of millions of people from one nation residing within our borders who retain a strong sense of identity and loyalty to a bordering nation. This raises a host of issues.
For example, for the Mexican government to engage in activities within the U.S. to foster the links and identity of immigrants with their nation of origin and to seek to build proto-governing structures and organizations to represent them, both to elements of the U.S. government and to the Mexican government, is a practice that the United States government, the Utah state government, and citizens of the U.S. should discourage.
Of more immediate concern here, however, is the case of when a person, say from Mexico, has migrated into the United States and has become a citizen of the United States.
Should that person serve the interests of the Mexican government or of the United States?
The U.S. position can only be that a citizen of the U.S. must put the interests of his or her new nation above the nation that he or she has left.
Holding a position of trust representing the previous nation would automatically be a conflict for a citizen of the U.S.
Senator Robles, while holding the position of Director of the Utah State Office of Ethnic Affairs, was simultaneously serving the government of Mexico in an official capacity.
The Oath of Allegiance is an oath taken by immigrants upon becoming citizens of the United States. It reads in part as follows:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same..."
This oath means that a newly sworn citizen owes his or her primary allegiance to the United States.
Based on information available publicly, it appears that Senator Luz Robles was born in Mexico, came to the United States in 1996, and at some point became a United States citizen.
Additionally, Senator Robles would have to have met the requirement of being a U.S. citizen in order to run for office in the State of Utah, as specified by Utah law.
Senator Robles, therefore, would have, at some point, taken the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
Therefore, Senator Robles owes her primary allegiance to the United States and that serving the Mexican government in any type of official capacity would be a conflict, especially while holding an appointed position of trust and authority within the Utah State government.
According to the Deseret News, Luz Robles served as Interim-Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs from July 2005 - November 2005.
She was appointed Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs in November, 2005.
Ms. Robles held this position until September, 2007 (at which time she resigned to accept a position with Zion's Bank).
On September 11, 2007 Ms. Robles was reported by the Deseret News to have said: "Being in the private sector allows me to consider being an elected official."
This statement appears to be an implicit acknowledgment of some type of potential conflict between holding an appointed position within the Utah state government and running for public office. Her thoughts may have been only to avoid potential public criticism for being a Democrat appointed by a Republican governor and running for office. The point is that Ms. Robles, at that point in time, was certainly conscious of the idea of conflicts between activities in different domains of public service and sought to avoid this one.
The Deseret News also reported that Rep. Herrod "questioned whether the office [OEA] was too politically active when it comes to illegal immigration and called for an interim study of its influence." (9/11/2007 - "Ex-Ethnic Affairs chief may vie for Senate seat"). This is an interesting observation given the fact that Ms. Robles was at the time an active member of a Mexican governmental entity seeking to alter the immigration policies of the United States.
Ms. Robles went on to become a candidate for the state senate. Certainly, she would have participated in the associated conventions and election activities in the spring of 2008.
Ms. Robles was elected on November 4, 2008 to the Utah State Senate.
Ms. Robles was sworn in as a Utah State Senator in January 2009.
Ms. Robles was also involved in the following representative actions related to the government of Mexico during the time she held an appointed position within the Utah government, was seeking elected office, and after she was elected:
Ms. Robles, in September of 2005, was elected, through an electoral process administered through the Consulate of Mexico in Salt Lake City, to a three year term of service as a member of the "Consejo Consultivo del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior" (CCIME - Advisory Board of the Institute for Mexicans Living in the Exterior). This is apparently an uncompensated position, although it is possible that travel expenses were reimbursed to the advisory board members. The key factor, however, is the service as a board member, which serves a foreign government and carries with it the official sanction of the Mexican government.
She held this position throughout the term 2006 - 2008.
She attended six conferences of the CCIME in Mexico proper and one which was held in Dallas, TX.
She was elected to the CCIME while holding her appointed position as Interim-Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs.
She was elected to be an advisory board member as a "Consejera."
She attended her first three conferences of the CCIME while holding the position of Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs.
She attended the fourth conference while she was considering running for elected office in Utah.
She attended the fifth conference while running for elected office in Utah.
The attended the sixth conference after having won election to the Utah State Senate.
She attended a seventh conference, as an observer, after having been sworn in as a Utah State Senator.
Three of these conferences appear to have been held at the official Mexican presidential residence at Los Pinos.
Several of the conferences included a speech by the president of Mexico (both President Fox and Calderon spoke at the conferences). This demonstrates the high level of consideration and involvement of the Mexican government.
Luz Robles spoke to the assembled council on one occasion, with the president of Mexico present.
Luz Robles served as the Coordinator for the Legal Affairs Commission of the CCIME for three conferences and was a member of the Political Affairs Commission for three conferences. She also participated in the meetings by region during the conferences. At her final conference as a council member and after having been elected to her current Utah State Senate seat, she appears to have met with the president of Mexico, or spoke at a meeting in which the president was present, along with two other members of her commission, to give him a report from the Political Affairs Commission.
She was not a passive member of the council. Indeed, the opposite appears to be true: Luz Robles was a very active, interested, and dynamic force within the council.
There can be no doubt that Luz Robles, a current state senator in Utah, is the same Luz Robles who served in the council.
Ms. Robles's picture and short bio are in the directory, her activities are referenced in several "Informes" (newsletters), her photo appears in official photographs of the group, and she was congratulated before the entire council by Candido Morales (Director of the Institute) for having won election to the Utah State Senate:
"Deseo aprovechar esta ocasion para pedir un fuerte aplauso para nuestra companera, la Consejera Luz Robles, electa el pasado 4 de noviembre como senadora estatal en el estado de Utah."
(I want to take this occasion to ask for a strong applause for our companion, Counselor Luz Robles, elected this past November 4 as a state senator in the state of Utah.)
Understanding a bit more about the CCIME is important for analyzing Luz Robles' actions.
Mexican President Vicente Fox appears to have been the prime mover in the creation of the Consejo Consultivo del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (CCIME).
By presidential decree, he created the Advisory Board (Consejo Consultivo) as a component of the "Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior" (IME) and placed the institute within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Mexican government.
The www.ime.gob.mx website is the official website of the Institute and contains within it a number of records about the conferences held by the CCIME, including speeches, minutes of meetings, and other details about the CCIME's bi-annual conferences and other elements of the IME, etc.
From the www.ime.gob.mx website's section, "What is the IME?" (this particular document on the website is in English), the following:
"The Mexican government's commitment to the Mexicans who live and work abroad led to the creation of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME), a decentralized agency of the Foreign Ministry."
The document continues:
"The IME carries out the functions of the Presidential Office for Mexican Communities Abroad and the Mexican Communities Abroad Program. It has an Advisory Board made up of 152 members who are representatives of the Mexican and Mexican-American community in the United States."
In the "Background" section of the same document, it states:
"...In order to strengthen the Mexican government's institutional capacity to develop policies that bring it closer to the Mexican communities abroad, the National Council for Mexican Communities Abroad, the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) and the IME Advisory Board were inaugurated before an audience of representatives from these communities." [emphasis added]
The IME Advisory Board mentioned above is the Consejo Consultivo (CCIME) - the board on which Luz Robles served for three years.
Among other missions of the IME, the document outlines the following two in the "Goals and Mission" section of the same document:
"To act as liaison, in coordination with Mexico's diplomatic offices, with the Mexican communities abroad" (III)
"To gather and systemize [sic] the proposals and recommendations for improving the social development of the Mexican communities abroad submitted by advisory boards made up of representatives from these communities" (VII)
These are two missions of the IME. The Advising Board or CCIME appears to function as an information and recommendation conduit to the IME from the Mexican communities in the United States and Canada. The IME itself serves as liason between the CCIME and the Mexican government.
The CCIME meetings are held bi-annually. The larger council is broken into commissions (committees) which have specific areas of consideration. Their goal is to make recommendations to the IME for consideration by the IME or other divisions of the Mexican government through referral by the IME.
The advisory board (CCIME) holds, therefore, a type of representative function between the Mexican communities abroad and the IME as a division of the Mexican government.
The importance of the CCIME, as a representative and consulting body to the IME, should be emphasized.
At the March 2006 conference, President Fox of Mexico, at the Official Residence of Los Pinos in Mexico City (the first conference Ms. Robles attended) stated:
"En una gran fiesta cívica, que habla muy bien de los sólidos valores que les caracterizan, las comunidades de mexicanos radicados en Canadá y Estados Unidos eligieron abierta y democráticamente a las y los consejeros aquí presentes. Felicidades y todo mi reconocimiento y el de todos los mexicanos a quienes hoy demuestran que los mexicanos sabemos mantenernos unidos para luchar por sus ideales, ustedes tienen la representación de México, ustedes tienen la representación de las y los mexicanos en el exterior, ustedes tienen toda la fuerza de los valores que compartimos y ustedes tienen toda la fuerza y el apoyo del Estado mexicano para cumplir con sus tareas y sus ideales. Felicidades a ustedes, dignos representantes de nuestras comunidades en Canadá y Estados Unidos. El Consejo Consultivo de los Mexicanos en el Exterior hoy es ejemplo de corresponsabilidad, de trabajo de equipo entre sociedad y Gobierno."
(In a large civic celebration, which speaks well of the solid values that characterize them, the communities of Mexicans living in Canada and the United States elected openly and democratically the counselors here present. Congratulations and all my appreciation and that of all Mexicans who today demonstrate that Mexicans know how to stand together to fight for their ideals, you have the representation of Mexico, you have the representation of Mexicans abroad, you have all the power of shared values and you have all the strength and support of the Mexican government to fulfill your tasks and your ideals. Congratulations to you, worthy representatives of our communities in Canada and the United States. The Advisory Council for Mexicans in the Exterior today is an example of co-responsibility, of team work between society and government.)
At the April 2007 conference, President Calderon of Mexico addressed the CCIME (again at Los Pinos) and stated:
"El Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior representa esta ambición, mejorando la vida de los Mexicanos en el exterior a través de sus iniciativas y programas, pero también haciendo el enlace con las comunidad en México. Uno de los grandes pilares del IME es su consejo consultivo, que representa una red de lideres y organizaciones elegidos democráticamente por sus respectivas comunidades, que cubren toda la extensión territorial de Estados Unidos, Canadá y México. A través de este consejo se han materializado grandes proyectos..."
(The Institute for Mexicans in the Exterior represents this ambition, improving the lives of Mexicans abroad through its initiatives and programs, but also making the link with the community in Mexico. One of the main pillars of the IME is its advisory board, which represents a network of democratically elected leaders and organizations by their respective communities, which cover the entire land area of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Through this council major projects have materialized...) [emphasis added]
President Calderon outlines several such major projects in bullet-point format in his discourse. His list includes:
"Voto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior, donde por primera vez en la historia de los Mexicanos que estamos en el extranjero tuvimos la oportunidad de votar por Presidente de la Republica, con lo cual se reconoce nuestra voz."
(The vote of Mexicans abroad, where for the first time in the history of Mexicans abroad, we had the opportunity to vote for the President of the Republic, with which our voices are recognized.)
President Calderon's list of CCIME projects also includes:
"La aceptación de matricula consular como identificación oficial en diferentes instituciones de los Estados Unidos"
(The acceptance of the Matricula Consular as official identification in different U.S. institutions)
This very acceptance of the Matricula Consular card that President Calderon praises, as one key project of the CCIME, has the been at the center of various immigration controversies within the United States.
Indeed, the CCIME also worked to have this card accepted for identification within Mexico as well - where it seems to not have been accepted while its use was growing within the U.S.
The CCIME, therefore, is a key element in the Mexican governmental structure addressing issues of concern for Mexican immigrants, especially in the U.S. Its proposals to the Mexican government are taken seriously.
The importance of the CCIME can also be seen by the fact that President Calderon chose the XVth conference of the CCIME to express his criticism of the recently enacted Arizona law (SB 1070) (April 2010).
Indeed, in a press release of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Mexican government (4/27/10), the CCIME view of the Arizona law was described:
"The advisors to the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) ended the 15th meeting of the advisory board. They agreed to condemn Arizona law SB 1070 and they announced that they will begin a series of actions-within the framework of the law-against its entrance into force."
It was at this same meeting that calls were issued forth by CCIME advisory board members to engage in voluntary boycotts of Arizona. The following is from Time magazine (4/28/2010, "Mexicans Unite to Oppose Arizona's Antie-lllegals Law"):
"Advisers to the Institute for Mexicans Abroad on Tuesday called on citizens to take part in a voluntary boycott of Arizona — urging people to avoid tourism to the state and to avoid buying its products or working with its sports teams."
Luz Robles was not part of this particular CCIME group. Her official role ended in 2008.
The CCIME, therefore, should be seen as a significant governmental component within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It does not exist merely as window-dressing. It has substance and is taken seriously.
The goal of this section is to further explain the organizational workings of the CCIME and to point out to the reader the importance of the advisory board and its work for the Mexican government. The proposals made by the advisory board are not mere suggestions. They are taken seriously and, in certain cases, become acted on and put into place by the Mexican government.
The CCIME does much of its work by dividing into several commissions (committees) that cover such areas as economic issues, education, the border, legal issues, politics, health, etc. They also meet in working groups by region of representation within the U.S.
The range of issues covered is wide and many of the issues would be hard to object to. The question is not so much, therefore, whether any particular issue would be objectionable from the point of view of something needing to be done. It is rather, for purposes of this document, whether or not Ms. Robles should have been involved at all and whether or not that involvement clouded her perspective and work as Director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs and tinges her current work as an elected representative in the United States.
Again, it is apparent in the documents that Ms. Robles has a high degree of empathy and energy directed at very legitimate concerns. Whether this energy is directed at asking the Mexican government to do more for returning Mexicans or in trying to create working solutions to problems for Mexicans residing in the U.S., her humanitarian impulse cannot be faulted.
The question should arise, however, as to what would constitute reasonable measures and policies that would make many of the humanitarian needs diminish. This would seem to be a more productive avenue for a sovereign nation to pursue.
In the documents of the CCIME, Ms. Robles seems locked into the current political matrix in reference to our dealings as a nation with Mexico and seems to have opted to represent Mexico.
By adapting some of her positions to be congruent with what is good for Mexico and Mexicans, she unjustifiably acted on behalf of a foreign government and acted to influence policies within the United States for the benefit of a foreign government.
For example, a commission recommendation discussed by the "Comision de Asuntos Legales" (Legal Affairs Commission) in April 2007 reads as follows:
"Obtener las compensaciones correspondientes a las empresas de transportistas mexicanos que no han podido ingresar al territorio de Estados Unido como estaba previsto en el TLCAN y que no se ha cumplido."
(Obtain corresponding compensation for companies of Mexican carriers that have been unable to enter the U.S. territory as was stipulated in the NAFTA and has not been met.)
This recommendation was likely discussed at the conference with officials from Mexico's Ministry of the Economy and plans for following up on the issue were made by the Legal Affairs Commission.
The question of allowing Mexican trucks free-reign throughout the entire United States has been a point of contention for several years. The NAFTA agreement may require such free-reign, but it may also specify under what conditions. The point is that the U.S. has opted so far to not permit Mexican trucks free-reign except under limited test conditions. The Obama administration is currently negotiating another test period which may lead to full trucking rights for Mexican trucks within the U.S.
This clearly would be a large benefit to Mexico and an equally large attack on the U.S. trucking industry.
The elements of NAFTA and its requirements are beyond the scope of this document. However, the Mexican trucking question has been strongly resisted by American trucking concerns and the public.
Ms. Robles began this April conference as the coordinator for the Legal Affairs Commission. She resigned stating she was going to run for the state senate. An election was held within the commission and a new coordinator selected. Even so, Ms. Robles participated in the meeting where this recommendation was created as a member of the group. It is not known if she supported this particular proposal, but it seems reasonable to assume that she did.
It is a reasonable assumption especially considering that in October of 2006, while she was coordinator of the Legal Affairs Commission, Luz Robles reported for the commission to the assembled CCIME and said:
"...la otra de las cosas que estamos revisando, hay puntos legales que estamos revisando con el IME y con la Secretaría en cuestiones derechos a los camioneros, les llamamos troqueros en Estados Unidos, pero los camioneros, sus derechos..."
("...the other of the things that we're reviewing, there are legal points we are reviewing with the IME and with the Secretariat on matters of truckers' rights, we call them truckers in the United States, but the truckers, their rights...)
Indeed, in a document from the same conference from her Commission on Legal Affairs, it states that the issue was reviewed:
"El problema de los camioneros mexicanos que, al amparo del TLC deberian transitar en los EUA y se les ha impedido sin ningun fundamento"
(The issue of Mexican trucks that, under NAFTA should be able to transit in the U.S. and have been barred without any reason)
The commission appears to have decided to request more information from the IME on this issue at that time.
The potential impact on the U.S. trucking industry did not seem to be an issue for the group.
Additionally, the U.S. position is a policy of the U.S. government - a policy which should not be undercut by U.S. public officials working within the Mexican governmental structure trying to push for change in the U.S. position.
Differing politicians in the U.S. may have different views on this particular issue and on other issues as well. They do not, however, hold positions within foreign governments and then seek to implement policy to benefit other nations to the detriment of their own.
Along with making proposals to the Mexican government, the counselors also have opportunity to coordinate with one another.
For example, Ms. Robles also participated at the conferences in the regional meetings for the "Estados Emergentes" group whenever they met. The minutes for this group, during this April 2007 conference, read in the first-person and were possibly transcribed rather than being recorded in the third-person as notes. As such, either Ms. Robles stated the following (or said things that were recorded as below):
"Lo unico que quiero decir es que tenemos la oportunidad de decir que somos 130 lideres mexicanos, que nos importa la reforma migratoria, que queremos ver lo que pase. Sin crear polemica podemos decir que el Strike Back es el primer paso a la solucion de aqui a agosto y que lo queremos ver para agosto, y los invito para que tomemos una accion fuerte y como grupo, sobre todo como estados emergentes..."
(All I want to say is that we have the opportunity to say that we are 130 Mexican leaders, that immigration reform matters to us, that we want to see what happens. Without creating controversy, we can say that Strike Back is the first step to the solution from here to August and that we want to see it for August, and I invite you so that we take strong action and as a group, above all as emerging states...) [emphasis added]
The preceding discussion in the document is about working to get an immigration bill through Congress. "Strike Back" seems to refer to the House bill, which had problems, but seemed to be the best bill to be put forth at the time. Luz Robles appears to be making a call to the group (the meeting of the advisory board members of the "Estados Emergentes" group) to become more strongly involved in getting this bill passed. It is, therefore, at a minimum, a call to the group to project their energies to bring change into the political domain of the United States by working to get the bill passed through Congress. The reference to "130 Mexican leaders" seems to refer to the entire CCIME rather than the smaller group discussing the issue. It is unclear if Ms. Robles is calling for more general action to be taken beyond the group working to get the bill passed.
This is the situation: an official body of the Mexican government (a group within the CCIME), meeting in Mexico, is discussing how to impact legislation before the U.S. Congress.
One of the board members helping to coordinate this effort: Luz Robles.
This was in April, 2007, while Luz Robles was Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs.
The CCIME, therefore, is not a passive board for show. It is an active board that makes serious proposals to the Mexican government that the Mexican government, in turn, takes seriously and acts upon when appropriate.
The flow of information and proposals can be seen to move in the direction toward the Mexican government.
Does it work in reverse?
Do members of the CCIME attempt to influence policy in the U.S.?
As seen above, the answer is affirmative.
This will become more clear in the following sections.
The first conference of the CCIME attended by Ms. Robles as a board member took place at the end of March 2006.
Earlier that month and continuing through April and May of 2006, a number of marches were held throughout the U.S. to promote pro-immigration reform. Salt Lake City was one such city.
The conference itself was held less than three weeks after a large pro-immigration reform march in Chicago. One new CCIME board member gave a speech to the CCIME in which he praised the role of two other new board members from Chicago for their instrumental role in organizing the Chicago marches.
In his speech, Juan Salgado Maldonado, makes the following comment:
"La unidad del pueblo en contra de la iniciativa HR 4437, y nuestro poder económico y político, me da la certeza de que Estados Unidos tomará el Mejor camino. Si no lo hace así se enfrentará a grandes dificultades, y a un verdadero caos en el terreno económico, precisamente en el momento cuando menos nos conviene. No sólo eso, también se encontrará con la desobediencia civil que será organizada por líderes comunitarios y líderes religiosos."
("The unity of the people against the bill HR 4437, and our economic and political power, gives me the certainty that the United States will take the high road. If it does not do so, it will face major difficulties, and true chaos in the economic field, precisely at the moment when it is the least convenient for us. Not only that, it will also meet with civil disobedience which will be organized by community leaders and religious leaders.")[emphasis added]
The speech engages in the method of making a veiled threat to achieve one's political goals. Mr. Salgado Maldonado tells the CCIME that the U.S. will essentially have "trouble" if it does not follow the high road, i.e., the one promoted by himself.
But who are these "community leaders" that he speaks of?
Given that he has just praised two of them and that they are now council members of the CCIME, it seems logical to assume that he sees the CCIME as a forum for advancing the pro-immigration agenda.
That this is a reasonable assumption to make about the CCIME can be supported by the fact that in April 2006, the IME, through its bulletin "Lazos," expressed support and made suggestions for the upcoming protests being scheduled for May 1, 2006.
Luz Robles' name appears as one of the 47 former and current CCIME board members expressing support.
On April 10, 2006 a bulletin of the IME (#425 of "Lazos") carried the names of 47 current and past board members who clearly expressed support for the upcoming marches, including making suggestions to have greater impact.
Luz Robles was one of the signatories to the declaration. Recall that, in April 2006, Luz Robles held the position of Director of Utah Ethnic Affairs.
Here is a portion of that document which was circulated by the IME, an official agency of the Mexican government:
"Los abajo firmantes, Consejeros salientes y entrantes del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior, declaramos:
1. Las marchas y movilizaciones por los derechos civiles, organizados de manera responsable, son esenciales para lograr la reforma migratoria que más nos conviene. Aunque la decisión de participar es individual, es importante evitar las acciones espontáneas o improvisadas que pueden perjudicar una reforma migratoria integral y justa.
2. La movilización nacional convocada para el 1 de mayo, día mundial del trabajo, será de la más alta importancia para el debate migratorio. El mensaje que enviaremos con estas movilizaciones será definitorio, no solamente para contrarrestar las acciones anti-inmigrantes, sino, sobre todo, porque la atención nacional en Estados Unidos estará enfocada en la movilización de las comunidades.
3. Proponemos que la convocatoria a participar en este esfuerzo sea tan amplia como sea posible, incluyendo a comunidades de fe, a otros grupos étnicos o nacionales, a medios de comunicación masiva, a cámaras de comercio, a sindicatos, a organizaciones comunitarias, a organizaciones nacionales de derechos civiles, a nuevos liderazgos de clubes y federaciones de oriundos, a estudiantes, a maestros y a funcionarios electos, de nuestro lugar de residencia. "
("The undersigned, outgoing and incoming council members of the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, declare:
1. The marches and demonstrations for civil rights, organized in a responsible manner, are essential to achieve the immigration reform that is best for us. Although the decision to participate is individual, it is important to prevent spontaneous or improvised actions that may damage a fair and just comprehensive immigration reform.
2. The national mobilization to be held on 1 May, world day of work, will be of the highest importance to the immigration debate. The message we send with these demonstrations will be defining, not only to counter anti-immigrant actions, but, above all, because the U.S. national attention will be focussed on the mobilization of the communities.
3. We propose that the invitation to participate in this effort be as broad as possible, including faith communities, other ethnic or national groups, mass media, chambers of commerce, trade unions, community organizations, national civil rights organizations, new leadership of hometown clubs and associations, students, teachers and elected officials, from our place of residence.")
The declaration seems focussed on the demonstrations being as large as possible and as well-behaved as possible in order to advance the cause of comprehensive immigration reform. Radical actions are to be avoided.
The document also outlines some principles to follow in the marches:
"5. Debemos mantener el mensaje positivo que hasta ahora ha predominado, bajo los siguientes principios:
a. Ser pacíficos;
b. Respetar la bandera de Estados Unidos, cargándola con el mismo orgullo con el que cargamos la bandera de nuestro país de orígen;
c. Asumir la responsabilidad, con todo vigor y sinceridad, de querer ser residentes o ciudadanos leales y honestos de los Estados Unidos
d. Demostrar que somos personas trabajadoras que contribuimos en todos los ámbitos a la prosperidad de la sociedad estadounidense
6. Hacemos un llamado a deslindarnos de quienes, a partir de acciones improvisadas, asumen posiciones radicales que afectan la imagen de nuestras comunidades."
("5. We must maintain the positive message that has so far prevailed, under the following principles:
a. Be peaceful;
b. Respect the flag of the United States, carrying it with the same pride with which we carry the flag of our country of origin;
c. Take responsibility, with all vigor and sincerity, of wanting to be loyal and honest residents or citizens of American society.
d. Show that we are hardworking people who contribute in all areas to the prosperity of American society
6. We make a call to separate ourselves from those who, from improvised actions, take radical positions that affect the image of our communities.")
These are good principles to follow for demonstrations, certainly.
The image-management concern, however, is telling.
Why should people be instructed in showing respect for the nation in which they are living or wish to become citizens of?
Our more immediate concern here, however, is that of an appointed official of the Utah state government who is making these appeals through official Mexican channels and as a representative of the Mexican government.
Ms. Robles is making a call for mass demonstrations in the United States to benefit the cause of amnesty for illegal immigrants in the United States.
She is doing so while holding an appointed position within the Utah state government through official channels of the Mexican government.
When making such a call, as a representative of the Mexican government, is Luz Robles serving the United States or Mexico?
At each conference of the CCIME a number of speeches are given by Mexican leaders. This list of speakers sometimes includes the president of Mexico. Usually an advisory board member or two will also speak.
During the November 2007 conference of the CCIME, Luz Robles was a featured speaker.
Her speech is not linked to the current CCIME website. However, it is linked to the older CCIME website. The speech can be found by working through the links to the Xth conference from:
Or directly at:
In the speech, Ms. Robles acknowledges the impact of recent flooding in Tabasco and Chiapas in Mexico and expresses support for the people in those regions.
She also talks about many Mexicans returning to Mexico, after being deported, and the need for the Mexican government to initiate programs to address the returning Mexicans and their families, which includes family members, in many cases, who are U.S. citizens.
She strongly recommends that the Mexican government respond to the situation in a way that avoids discriminating against the returning Mexicans again and tells them that these returning Mexicans need to be treated with dignity. She further makes diverse recommendations to the Mexican government along the lines of assisting returning Mexicans.
However, it seems that the opportunity to insult the United States, the nation in which she holds citizenship, was too great.
After expressing support for the victims of the situation in Tabasco and Chiapas, Ms. Robles says:
"Sabemos que los mexicanos y mexicanas que emigran a los EUA se enfrentan a una ola de discriminacion y rechazo terrible, pero la necesidad los sigue empujando a salir de Mexico."
("We know that Mexicans who emigrate to the United States face a wave of terrible discrimination and rejection, but need continues to push them to leave Mexico.")
Remember, this speech was given with the president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, present.
As if one insult wasn't sufficient, Ms. Robles, later in the speech says:
"Para los millones de mexicanos que siguen en los EUA, y que enfrentan actualmente una ola anti inmigrante que se ve reflejada en políticas publicas, sociales y leyes que hacen la vida del mexicano migrante cada vez mas difícil..."
("For the millions of Mexicans who remain in the U.S., and who currently face an anti-immigrant wave that is reflected in public policy, social and laws that make the life of Mexican migrant increasingly difficult ...")
She follows this comment with a proposal that the Mexican government speed up the processing of identification documents through the consulates in order to help people meet the new international travel requirements and/or to obtain driver's privileges.
After two insults to the U.S. and pushing the Mexican government to act, Luz Robles ends her speech with these words:
"El perfil de muchos de los mexicanos que se encuentran en el exterior ha cambiado en los últimos años y estamos participando con mas fuerza en actividades cívicas y políticas de EUA y Canadá. Le reiteramos nuestro compromiso de seguir luchando por mejorar la vida de nuestras familias y demás compatriotas en el exterior, pero es importante contar con el apoyo incondicional de su gobierno el cual no dudamos en recibir. Queremos darle las gracias por su compromiso de ayudar a los mexicanos en todas partes del mundo."
("The profile of many of the Mexicans who are in the exterior has changed in recent years and we are participating with more strength in the civic and political activities of U.S. and Canada. We reiterate to you our commitment to continue striving to improve the lives of our families and other compatriots in the exterior, but it is important to have the unconditional support of your government which we do not doubt we receive. We want to thank you for your commitment to help Mexicans all over the world.")[emphasis added]
The "you" and "your" in the above statement appear to be directly addressed to Felipe Calderon, the President of Mexico.
In the speech, there is a fundamental lack of making any distinction between legal immigrants to the United States and illegal immigrants to the United States.
Certainly, the tone and content of the speech are subject to interpretation, but to many Americans, her words will have the sting of an insult delivered on foreign soil and her words to President Calderon will be seen to be the call to a type of ethnocentric unity as a Mexican.
At the November 2008 conference, after Ms. Robles had been elected to serve as a Utah State Senator, Ms. Robles was chosen to be the moderator for the "Estados Emergentes" meeting.
During this meeting, Join [John] Amaya, who was listed as a representative of MALDEF, made a few remarks that were noted in the minutes:
"Otra tarea que estan realizando es entorno a la reforma migratoria. Y recomendo que el poder de los consejeros es grande y van a necesitarse juntarse y estar listos para convocar a la comunidad para presionar al senado."
(Another task you/they are performing is around immigration reform. And recommended that the power of counselors is large and it will be necessary that they come together and be ready to summon the community to pressure the Senate.) [emphasis added]
It is unclear if the referent "you" in the first sentence is to be attributed to the council members or to a group of lawyers previously mentioned in the text by Mr. Amaya. However, the sentence following it seems clearly meant to refer to the council members pushing the "community" to influence the Senate.
Mr. John Amaya of MALDEF?
Who is Mr. Amaya?
Mr. Amaya appears to be a public spokesman for the Mexican American Legal Aid and Educational Fund (MALDEF). His presence at this meeting indicates a certain level of interaction and coordination between the CCIME and Hispanic organizations within the United States.
Remember that the CCIME is an official organ of the Mexican government meeting in Mexico.
At the end of this same meeting Ms. Robles and German Trejo: "propusieron que en enero se lleve a cabo la reunion y en el mes de febrero se realice la teleconferencia de estados emergentes."
(proposed to conduct the meeting in January and in February to have the teleconference of emerging states.)
This conference took place at the end of the three-year term for the council members and the topic here seems to be the transition to a new council.
If Ms. Robles was involved in January and in February of 2009 with transitional activities of the CCIME, this would place those activities within her elected office tenure as a Utah State Senator.
Indeed, in addition to the main bi-annual conferences of the CCIME, there appears to have been teleconferences between commission coordinators and possibly other meetings of smaller groups or commissions as well. It is unknown as to how involved Ms. Robles may have been in these other contacts or meetings during her tenure as a board member.
November 2008 was a busy month for Luz Robles.
On November 4th she won election to the Utah State Senate.
She attended a conference of the CCIME in Mexico on November 10 and 11.
She was in Washington, D.C. on November 21 for a reception sponsored by the Mexican embassy in conjunction with a training seminar sponsored by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO).
An issue of "Lazos" (a bulletin of the IME, #756, November 27, 2008) mentions her by name as having attended.
The bulletin is available at: http://www.ime.gob.mx/noticias/boletines_lazos/2009/756.htm
As part of the reception, the Mexican Ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, gave a speech in which he talked, among other things, about the expanding role of Latinos in the recent election.
The speech is available at: http://www.ime.gob.mx/documentos/Discurso_Embajador_S.pdf
He ends his speech with the following:
"But beyond integration there must also be empowerment, and this, to a great extent, is to be attained through unity, organization and leadership. Full citizenship can only be achieved if the people are well-informed, organized and take an active part in the public life of their country. We thus need to actively encourage the responsible and intelligent civic engagement and empowerment of our communities, to make sure that their voice is heard and their culture celebrated, and to ensure that they prosper economically and socially as a people. Having voted in record numbers in this last election, it is now essential that you ensure that the Hispanic community be properly counted in the next census. And this is one of the primary tasks that lies ahead of you as elected officials.
This is no small task, for notwithstanding the fact that the US is a country that welcomes immigrants, it would be naïve to think that empowerment comes naturally and inevitably as a result of integration. As the community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky once said: “change means movement, movement means friction, friction means heat, and heat means controversy. The only place where there is no friction is outer space.” Sometimes NALEO has generated controversy, and if we believe Alinsky, and I do, controversy is a good thing.
I know Adolfo and Arturo need no encouragement, but my message to all of you tonight is continue rocking the boat!" [emphasis added]
What does the ambassador mean when he refers to Mexicans living in the U.S. as "our communities" or that they should prosper "as a people"?
He seems to be proposing an America of "peoples" rather than an American people.
The ambassador appears to be saying here that the goals and wishes of the "community" as a whole, of which one is a member by ethnicity, should be seen as more important than the aspirations of the individual and that the individual should identify with the community and advance the community's cause.
Is this the proper stance for an ambassador to our nation from another to take?
Is Mr. Sarukhan not implying, thereby, that the interests of the United States and its immigration policy should be seen as subordinate to the goals of "his" community or communities within the United States?
Mr. Sarukhan's implicit ethnocentrism and community-based identity politics ought to be challenged.
It certainly seems out of place for a diplomat to make such statements while residing and working within another nation - in this case, the United States.
Even more troubling than that particular notion is the idea, promoted by the ambassador of Mexico, that generating heat, promoting controversy, and rocking the boat are the ways to accomplish the goals of "his" community in the political and other domains of the United States.
Borrowing this idea from Saul Alinsky (a far-left radical community organizer and theorist for altering society), addressing the newly elected Latino officials as if they were newly elected public officials in Mexico, and then holding up two officials from NALEO as exemplars of "rocking the boat" is beyond belief for an ambassador to our nation.
And there she was, Luz Robles.
The newly elected state senator from Utah.
Member of the CCIME.
Veteran of six CCIME conferences.
Listening to a speech by the ambassador from Mexico about how her role is to serve "her" community within the United States by "rocking the boat."
It would be very interesting to have Senator Robles give us her thoughts about the reception and speech.
An excellent question to ask her would be if she agreed or not with the esteemed Mexican ambassador to the U.S.
Luz Robles became a Utah State Senator in January of 2009.
In April of that same year, now Senator Robles was again in attendance at a CCIME conference. Her role in this particular conference seems to have been that of an observer.
But the question remains, why was she there at all?
Why was a new Utah State Senator in Mexico attending a conference of the advisory board to the Mexican government?
Efrain Jimenez, a former council member on the CCIME, gave a speech to the assembled council. He acknowledges the dignitaries sitting in front and then acknowledges Luz Robles:
"Muy distinguida compañera y orgullo de muchos mexicanos que estamos en el exterior, Luz Robles, senadora electa por el estado de Utah."
("Very distinguished colleague and pride for many Mexicans who are abroad, Luz Robles, a senator elected by the state of Utah.")
Senator Robles then receives a very warm round of applause from the assembled council.
There is a video of this speech and the part just described on youtube.com.
The acknowledgment occurs at the beginning of the video.
It is difficult to pinpoint her in the group in the video, but it pans to the right after the acknowledgment as if the camera-person was trying to get a shot of her.
It is an interesting video because it shows how the meetings for the entire group took place and indicates the chance the board members had for rubbing elbows, so to speak, with Mexican government officials.
Apparently, Luz Robles attended a couple of meetings during the conference as well.
The video is available at:
The speech by Efrain Jimenez is available at:
Senator Robles appears to have attended the meeting of the Legal Affairs Commission also. Her name and signature appear at the bottom of page 6 of the following document:
She was also listed as an observer in the minutes for the Political Affairs Commission (see page 4):
Again, what was Senator Luz Robles doing in Mexico at this meeting after having taken office?
This document has sought and has met the challenge set by Senator Robles' to become informed by gaining knowledge of issues in order to hold our public officials accountable.
The issue is primarily Luz Robles' involvement with the CCIME.
This is the first step in the accountability process.
A number of questions can be derived from the above presentation of Senator Robles' conflict of interest on immigration and related issues which ought to be answered.
These questions are:
1. Did Ms. Robles violate her Oath of Allegiance to the United States?
2. Did Luz Robles inform Governor Huntsman that she intended to be elected to the CCIME in 2005?
3. Did Luz Robles, at any time, inform Governor Huntsman of her participation in an elected body of the Mexican government while serving as director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs? Did she ever inform him of the nature of the CCIME and its proposals that might impact Utah policy and the policies of the United States?
4. Did she inform the leadership of the Democratic Party in Utah of her involvement?
5. Did she inform the voters of her district of her involvement?
6. Although the position she held as a board member of the CCIME was a voluntary position, did she receive any compensation or reimbursement for any expenses in conjunction with her service to Mexico?
7. If she received any such compensation or reimbursement, would such compensation or reimbursement imply an unethical relationship with Mexico?
8. What was Luz Robles doing in Mexico, meeting with the CCIME, while a Utah State Senator? Are there state requirements for disclosure for such travel and purpose?
9. The current debate about funding the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs partially revolves around the idea that the office serves as a conduit of access to the governor for ethnic minorities in Utah and that the director of the office functions as a liaison between these communities and the governor. If that is the case, what was Luz Robles advising the governor during her time as the Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs? Was she using her position as director to promote the causes determined by her involvement with the CCIME to Governor Huntsman? And within the state government?
10. Did Luz Robles use her position as Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs to try to sabotage or influence pending legislation before the legislature in order to advance views more favorable to Mexico?
11. Were any tax-funded state resources or other state resources used by Luz Robles as Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs to influence the outcome of any legislation in Utah for the benefit of Mexico?
12. Does Senator Robles maintain any contacts with Mexican governmental groups or individuals within such groups and work with them in order to influence immigration policy in the U.S. or Utah?
13. Does Senator Robles maintain any contacts with members of other groups or organizations within the U.S. who maintain contacts with Mexican governmental groups or individuals who help to plan, coordinate, or carry out efforts to influence U.S. policy in order to benefit Mexico?
14. Did Mexico assist Luz Robles in any way to achieve election victory - even if such attempts and helping her may have been minimal and ineffectual?
15. How much of Luz Robles' time was devoted to CCIME work during the period she served as Director of the Utah Office of Ethnic Affairs?
Before trust can be restored between the public and Senator Robles, these questions must be answered.
Even then, it is doubtful that trust can be restored.
Her working relationship with Mexico basically precludes trusting her on any issue dealing with immigration.
The documents listed below contain a lot of information. Interested individuals will certainly find much in them to consider.
For example, two topics not presented above, but which might be added (along with others) to issues raised herein, are, first, the relationship of the CCIME to Hispanic/Latino activist organizations within the United States. The second is the issue of labor unions and the link between the CCIME and certain unions, notably the SEIU, in the United States. The links, however, may be nothing more than initial attempts or calls to examine the possibility of coordinating actions on certain issues. Such links certainly need to examined and considered.
There are a considerable number of documents on the CCIME websites. It might be worthwhile to examine many more than are listed below. Ms. Robles, for example, may appear in documents other than those below that specifically mention her. At a minimum, however, the following documents may need to be researched to understand the CCIME, examine its workings and proposals, and verify the claim that Senator Robles was indeed filling a position of trust and authority within the Mexican government:
To locate the relevant documents, go to www.ime.gob.mx and at the initial screen select "What is the IME?" (upper left area of webpage).
The documents accessible from this page, from the list on the left side, that might be fruitful are:
-What is the IME?
-Reporte de Actividades 07-08
-Reporte de Actividades 05-06
Click on the "Consejo Consultivo" document and you will be brought to another page with other selections. Some relevant documents on the right hand side of the page are:
-Directorio del CCIME 2006-2008
-XII Reunion del CCIME
-XI Reunion del CCIME
-X Reunion del CCIME
-IX Reunion del CCIME
-VIII Reunion del CCIME
-VII Reunion del CCIME
-Renovacion del CCIME 2006-2008
-Informes CCIME 2007-2009 (Newsletters of the CCIME)
-Reuniones Ordinarias (in the "Galeria de fotografias" section)
By clicking on the "VII Reunion del CCIME," "VIII Reunion del CCIME," etc., you will brought to an overview of each conference. At the end of each description, you will find a list of documents for each conference that includes speeches, minutes of meetings, etc. Some relevant documents for each meeting are as follows:
VII Reunion del CCIME:
-Discurso del Presidente Vicente Fox
-Discurso de Candido Morales, Director del IME
-Comision de Asunto Legales (unavailable - Luz Robles on this Commission, most likely as Coordinator)
-Region Costa Oeste (Luz Robles participant)
-Reunion Plenaria de Conclusiones (Luz Robles participated & gave report of the Comision de Asuntos Legales)
-Relatoria El debate sobre la Reforma Migratoria en Estado Unidos
-Relatoria Plenaria convocada por CMR
VIII Reunion del CCIME:
-Discurso del Presidente Fox (unavailable)
-Discurso del Subsecretario para America del Norte, Geronimo Gutierrez
-Discurso de la Consejera Beatriz Amberman
-Comision de Asuntos Legales (in the "Minutas" section) (Luz Robles as Coordinator)
-Comision de Asuntos Legales (in the "Recomendaciones" section)
-Transcripcion de la Plenaria de consclusiones y clausura (Luz Robles presented recommendations of the Comision de Asuntos Legales)
IX Reunion del CCIME:
-Discurso del Presidente Felipe Calderon Hinojosa
-Discurso de Candido Morales, Director del IME
-Comision de Asunto Legales (in the "Minutas" section") (Luz Robles as Coordinator/participant)
-Comunidades Emergentes (Luz Robles as participant)
-Comision de Asuntos Legales (in the "Recomendaciones" section)
X Reunion del CCIME:
-Discurso del Presidente Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (unavailable)
-Discurso de Consejera Luz Robles (unavailable - but cited in the description of the conference in "X Reunion del CCIME")
-Comision de Asunto Politicos (in the "Minutas" section) (Luz Robles participant)
-Comunidades Emergentes (Luz Robles participant)
-Comision de Asuntos Politicos (in the "Recomendaciones" section)
-Sesion de Conclusiones y Clausura
-Sesion de Instalacion del grupo de trabajo del Consejo Consultivo del IME - CONAGO
XI Reunion del CCIME:
-Discurso del Presidente Felipe Calderon Hinojosa
-Discurso de Candido Morales, Director del IME
-Comision de Asunto Politicos (in the "Minutas" section) (Luz Robles participant - possibly missed first meeting, but present at second meeting)
-Segunda Reunion del Grupo de Trabajo CCIME - Comision de Asunto Migratoiros de la CONAGO
Taller de Instalacion del Comite Electoral Local (Luz Robles participant)
XII Reunion del CCIME:
-Discurso de Candido Morales, Director del IME en la XII Reunion del CCIME
-Minuta de la Comision de Asuntos Politicos (Luz Robles participant)
-Comunidades Emergentes (Luz Robles moderator)
Accessing Other Conference Documents:
The documents of the conferences that follow the XIIth conference can be accessed in the same manner as the listed conferences above.
The XIII conference has some links in the text above.
The XVth conference has President Calderon's speech, which became a controversial attack on the Arizona law passed earlier that month.
Accessing the "Informes" (Newsletters):
From the "Consejo Consultivo" page, select "Informes CCIME 2007 - 2010" from the lower right-hand side of the page.
Accessing the "Lazos" (Bulletins):
From the "Consejo Consultivo" page, select "Noticias" from the left-hand side of the page. On the Noticias page, select "Boletines Lazos" from the upper right-hand side and you will be brought to a list in sequence of the bulletins going back to January, 2008. For older Lazos, go to the older CCIME website at: http://www.ime.gob.mx/ccime/ccime.htm. Select the "Noticias" folder and you will be brought to a page where you can select "Boletines - Lazos" - this option will bring you to a list in order for the Lazos going back to January 2005.
1. This document essentially retains the majority of the previous document (January 2011 version). Some clarifications, rearrangements, and other changes or additions were made to the original text. However, as a reader of that document will soon discover, a considerable amount of new material has been added to that original document.
2. This document and its prior version were originally intended to be distributed through e-mail. In order to prevent formatting problems, diacritics may have been left off of the original Spanish here and there due to the difficulty in adding them or through the loss of them as this document was worked on and transmitted through e-mail, etc. The meaning of any particular passage does not seem to be affected and a lack of respect for the Spanish language should not be inferred because the author has complete respect for the Spanish language and its speakers. If there is any question as to the meaning of a particular passage, the original document can be examined.