AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - After wrapping up his tour, Consul General of Mexico in Austin, Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez is saying goodbye to Austin.
Over the course of four-years Gonzalez Gutierrez office faced a number of challenges. An instance that came to mind for Gonzalez Gutierrez was the ICE raids in 2017 when 53 Mexican nationals were detained over one weekend in Travis County.
"That created a lot of panic and a lot of anxiety in the city because that had never taken place before," said Gonzalez Gutierrez.
"The vast majority of them were detained not because ICE was particularly after them but they were caught because it was the wrong time, wrong place," Gonzalez Guiterrez adds.
Gonzalez Gutierrez’s office received many calls when the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office's zero tolerance initiative in 2018 was put into effect and resulted in the deportation of 13 people.
"The Mexican Consulate had to step up to the plate and provide information to a community that was concerned it didn't know what was the next steps," Gonzalez Gutierrez said.
Gonzalez Gutierrez witnessed three legislative sessions during his time in Austin. The first one for him was a learning experience. This legislative session Gonzalez Gutierrez saw progress.
"I saw a lot of cultural wars that created a lot of noise around SB4 and the bathroom bill that didn't help much," said Gonzalez Gutierrez.
"A legislature more concerned into going back slowly but surely to the pragmatic approach that have always characterized Texas regarding immigration," said Gonzalez Gutierrez. "The prosperity of Texas depends on immigrants, 80-percent of all construction workers are immigrants, most of them Latino immigrants most of them Mexican immigrants."
Throughout his time in office, Gonzalez Gutierrez told FOX 7 he learned several lessons.
"Perhaps the most important one is that Texas is not playing the role that it can and it should play in U.S Mexico relations," Gonzalez Gutierrez says.
In comparison to California and Arizona, Gonzalez Gutierrez said Texas needs a better, stronger relationship to its neighbors to the south, not only in trades and services but education and border infrastructure.
Among Gonzalez Gutierrez’s achievements is the creation of the MexAustin scholarship which provides first and second generation Latino students money to attend college.
Gonzalez Gutierrez’s last day was Friday. Pablo Marentes González will be his replacement.