The Mexican Consulate in Anchorage is closing to the public at the end of November because of budgetary reasons. Running the 10-person office costs about half a million dollars each year. It opened in 2009 because the state was seeing an increase in the Mexican population, and Alaska’s vast geography made reaching a consulate difficult. The American Community Survey by the U.S. Census estimates 27,872 people of Mexican origin live in the state. Only 40 people used the Consulate for passport services last month.
“Unfortunately, we can’t have offices everywhere that there’s a mid-sized community,” said Eduardo Baca, the Mexican Consul in Seattle, during a press conference. “We have places, states [like Tennessee], that have over 200,000 Mexicans, and we don’t have a consulate there. But the reality is we can’t have a consulate everywhere just because there are no budgetary availability.”
Baca said they will still be providing consular services, like issuing passports and other documents, online, over the phone, and through a new consulate on wheels program. The consul plans to visit the state and offer 600 appointments over the course of a week.
“Our physical offices are closing but the presence and the services are not stopping in any way,” he said.
The frequency of their visits will depend on demand, but they plan to make their first trip back up in April. As with any consular appointments, people must call the centralized Mexitel phone service or make an appointment online. The Consulate of Mexico has 50 offices nationwide and is largest consulate presence in the world, Baca said.