EXCLUSIVE: Milwaukee Mexican Consulate benefits Hispanic community, state economy
It may be easy to overlook the Mexican flag flying on Prospect Avenue.
"I was as shocked as anyone else," said Head Consul Julian Adem.
But it's a powerful symbol of the culture in Milwaukee.
The city will be home to a new Mexican Consulate, a government agency to serve the 260,000 Hispanics who live in the county, and the numbers are only growing.
"I believe that people from Chicago or Indiana are moving up north into Wisconsin to find jobs," he said.
Jobs in the state's economic lifeline, agriculture and dairy. Many of those products are sent to Mexico, making it Wisconsin's second largest export market.
With the consulate in Milwaukee, the head consul said they'll focus on strengthening those ties.
"We think there's a lot to develop that the $5.4 billion in trade that exists between Wisconsin and Mexico as a whole needs to grow more," said Adem.
In a matter of days, Milwaukee's Mexican Consulate will fill a void for its citizens to get basic services.
Downstairs, they can get government issued documents like visas, ID cards, and civil registrations. Upstairs, staff will help with legal services.
"We're proud to be the first to serve here," said Adem. "This will as a result avoid people traveling all the way to Chicago."
The new location can serve up to 150 people a day. But, staff will be traveling once a month offering mobile services to those in Waukesha, Racine and Green Bay.
Adem hopes building on the community's economic and cultural needs will leave a lasting impression.
"We want the people of this wonderful state and city to see that Mexico has fine people," he said.
The Consulate will operate on a trial phase starting June 15, fulfilling a limited number of appointments. If all systems are working correctly, a formal celebration could happen around July 1.