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Gov. Walker to Mexico: Don’t you want to open a consulate in Wisconsin?

(Richard Shiro/A.P.)

It’s time for a 51st Mexican consulate in the United States, and it should call the Badger State home, says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).

In letters to Mexico’s president and ambassador to the United States this week, Gov. Walker argued that Wisconsin deserves a consulate all its own. The Chicago consulate, which serves Wisconsin, is “overwhelmed,” he said. And Mexican nationals in Wisconsin face document-processing waits of up to two months.

“I understand that for a number of years the Consulate in Chicago has visited Wisconsin through its mobile consulate,” he wrote. “They have gone to a number of cities in the past such as Sheboygan, Madison, Appleton, Janesville, Beloit, and Milwaukee. This mobile service is greatly appreciated, but the fact that the Consulate in Chicago has recognized the growing demand for their services and has developed a mobile consulate demonstrates the need for another consulate in the Midwest.”

Walker is responding to a nationwide trend, one we’ve written plenty about before. The Hispanic population is expected to more than double from 2010 to 2040, increasing its share of the total population from 16 percent to 28 percent, according to the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

The Hispanic share of Wisconsin’s population is expected to roughly double, too, to 12 percent. Still, the state is in the middle of the pack nationally. It was home to the nation’s 24th largest Hispanic population among the states in 2010. By 2040, it will rise one spot to 23rd. But, in Walker’s defense, at least seven states have Mexican consulates even though their Hispanic populations are smaller than Wisconsin’s.

A Wisconsin-based consulate would also tighten the economic ties between the two regions, Walker said, noting that Mexico was the state’s second largest export market.

Mexico has 50 consulates in the states and Puerto Rico, excluding its presence in Washington, D.C., according to a count of those listed on Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site. Texas is home to 11 of those consulates, California has 10, Arizona has five and Florida has two. Twenty one other states each have one consulate.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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