Former Member of Mexican Cabinet to Discuss Immigration Laws

Feb. 21, 2006

Dr. Juan Hernandez, who served in President of Mexico Vicente Fox's cabinet heading the President's Office for Mexicans Abroad, will speak in Dr. Victor Hinojosa's Government and Politics of Mexico class at 11 a.m. in room 329 at the Draper Academic Building. At 2 p.m., Hernandez will sign copies of his new book, "New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants" in Draper 116.

During the lecture, Hernandez will look at U.S.-Mexico relations and the opposing viewpoints of closing the borders versus more relaxed immigration laws. "The U.S. is trying to define itself," he said.

Hernandez was born in Fort Worth of a Mexican father and a Texan mother. He completed his undergraduate studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc., and received his master's degree and doctorate from Texas Christian University. He is the founder of the Center for U.S.-Mexico Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas and currently runs the Organization for Hispanic Advancement.

In 1996, Hernández invited Vicente Fox (then Governor of the Mexican State of Guanajuato) to speak at UT, Dallas and meet George W. Bush (then Governor of Texas) -- a historical meeting that marked a new outlook in Mexico-U.S. relations.

During this Texas trip, Fox asked Hernandez to help create "Guanajuato Trade Offices," in the U. S. (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas-Fort Worth) and serve as his representative in the U.S. Soon, Fox invited Hernandez to be his "gate-keeper" and close confidant in his presidential campaign.

After beating the party that had ruled for more than 71 years, President Fox hired Hernandez as the first US-born cabinet member, heading the President's Office for Mexicans Abroad. Operating from Los Pinos (the Mexican White House), the Office had as its principal objective to serve and dignify the 24 million whom President Fox has called heroes -- the countrymen who live in foreign lands.

Described as one of the most brilliant men in the world (Fortune 2001), named Humanitarian Man of 2001 by Latin Trade Magazine (2001), and classified as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the U.S. (Hispanic Business Magazine 2001), he is known for his passion for the defense of the rights of immigrants. He has been showcased on Nightline, the Peter Jennings show and is a regular on Univisión, CNN and Fox News.

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