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Mexicans in U.S. Run for Mexican Congressional Offices - 2003-06-11


Voters in Mexico go to the polls July 6th, for that country’s congressional elections. And while it might seem odd, some Mexicans living in the United States are running for office.

As Miguel Rivera tells us, it’s an effort to gain political representation for the more than 20 million Mexicans who live north of the border.

There are two Mexicans in the Midwestern state of Illinois running for office and both are from the Chicago area. Juan Barcenas is a businessman in Aurora, while Enrique Murillo is a political scientist from Skokie.

The challenge for both of them is that Mexico has no absentee voting. Mexicans living outside the country cannot take part in their country's elections.

So their campaigns are aimed at influencing the relatives of voters back home.

ENRIQUE MURILLO, MEXICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE
“The way we are to do this is by telling people to call their relatives in Mexico to tell them to vote for the immigrant candidates.”

JUAN MANUEL BARCENAS, MEXICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE
“The Mexican Community needed Mexican representative and political representation.”

The campaigning is part of an effort to gain political representation for those who live abroad.

Cuauhtemoc Cardenas was once mayor of Mexico City and a former Mexican presidential candidate.

CUAUHTEMOC CARDENAS, FORMER MEXICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
“If migrants are represented in Congress, their interests will also be represented in Congress.”

It could also lead to benefits for undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. Chicago resident Gladys Villagran:

GLADYS VILLAGRAN, CHICAGO RESIDENT
“I think the majority of them might be for people who don’t have papers. It’s just rights. I mean the majority of them work harder than those of us who are Americans.”

Mexicans in the U.S. feel the attention is long overdue, because they send 10.5 billion dollars to relatives in Mexico each year.

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