- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Jorge Sanchez’s job as Mexico’s consul in Indianapolis puts him on the front lines of the immigration surge in Indiana.

More than 500,000 Mexican nationals live in his jurisdiction, which also includes southern Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio. Of those, Sanchez said about 80,000 live in central Indiana alone.

And it is Sanchez’s responsibility to ensure they receive a variety of services through his consulate office, including assistance with such issues as immigrant documentation, international business deals and legal representation.

It’s a job that keeps Sanchez busy while his family settles into its new home in Fishers.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Sanchez said over breakfast with his son, Bruno, and wife, Eva. “The Mexican community is a very hard-working people and they want a better life for their families.”

Mexico has 51 consulates around the world. Sanchez is in charge at one of the largest in the U.S. The Indianapolis consulate office is so large, in fact, that Mexican nationals on average wait about 45 days before they receive help with documentation.

To keep up with demand, Sanchez is asking civic leaders to help him with programming and other services available at the consulate.

“I am trying to build relationships with everyone from governor to the sheriffs, to the police departments. That’s my job,” Sanchez told The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/VEQX9Y ).

Before life in the Mexican Foreign Service brought Sanchez and his family to Indiana last summer, the diplomat developed a passion for learning in the suburbs of Mexico City.

His parents - an economist and an accountant - encouraged Sanchez to enroll in a private college where he received his first lessons on how to become a diplomat.

“I learned about Mexican history, history around the world, law and many subjects,” Sanchez said. Nearly 40 years later he is wrapping up his first year as a head consul.

Sanchez previously served as a deputy consul in Detroit, where he tackled issues such as racial profiling and U.S. immigration policy for the first time.

“We had very difficult cases, but we have more cases here because this is a larger region,” Sanchez said.

His office on South East Street sees more than 100 consulate clients every day, and soon a new series of seminars could draw more people to the building.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday will launch a series of public safety classes at the consulate office.

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