Guillermo Ordorica has spent his career in exotic and important places around the world.
In 25 years as a diplomat, his duties in the Mexican Foreign Service have taken him to the Vatican, Paris, Washington, D.C., and El Paso, Texas. Last month, he moved to Boise as the newest consul stationed here.
Shortly after he arrived, Ordorica met Gov. Butch Otter, who asked him which place, of all the ones he's lived, he liked best.
"Boise, sir," Ordorica said.
"You're a diplomat," Otter replied.
All joking aside, Ordorica's job involves more than charming fellow dignitaries. In a broad sense, the mission of the consulate, which opened in 2009, is to represent and promote Mexico, its interests and the interests of Mexicans in its jurisdiction, which includes most of Idaho, western Montana, and small slices of Oregon and Nevada.
On a daily basis, that means helping patrons navigate the immigration process, legal system and various challenges that people face outside their homeland. The staff helps Mexicans obtain birth certificates, provides health education and makes frequent trips to jails to ensure that incarcerated Mexicans are being treated properly.
In El Paso, his most recent post, documentation requests dominated the workload, Ordorica said.
"Here, things are different," he said. "We are not on the border. We are several thousand miles from the border. Of course, we have a daily demand for these kinds of services. Not in the amount that we used to have in El Paso or in other consulates where the Mexican population is really big."
The Boise staff spends much of the time reaching out to pockets of Mexicans and informing them of the help the consulate can provide. They help organize cultural events and hold workshops that teach business owners basic principles, from managing bank accounts to registering corporations with the Secretary of State's Office.
Carmen Gonzales, executive director of the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said the consulate has made a big difference to the region in its four years. It's more than the workshops and events the office helps put on, Gonzales said. Perhaps the biggest benefit for Mexicans, especially those who live in the Treasure Valley, is being able to walk into the office and talk to trained professionals.
"Imagine just having a brand-new store in town that you always needed, but you always had to do mail order or you had to get online to pick up the things that you needed," Gonzales said. "Well, now, here they are. They're what, four miles from me? And it is so convenient. It's easy. They're always ready to help. It doesn't matter what time you walk in."
Sven Berg: 377-6275