View slideshow of images from Mexico
Some have asked about new travel document requirements for reentry to US from Mexico effective January 2008 when U.S. citizens will be required to present a WHTI-compliant document or a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, plus proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. Here is the link with complete information and following is a summary of upcoming changes at land port of entries:
LAND AND SEA TRAVEL
The following summarizes information available on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
- JANUARY 31, 2008
- U.S. and Canadian citizens will need to present either a WHTI-compliant document, or a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, plus proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. DHS also proposes to begin alternative procedures for U.S. and Canadian children at that time.
- SUMMER 2008
- At a later date, to be determined, the departments will implement the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI. The proposed rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have either a U.S. passport; a U.S. passport card; a trusted traveler card such as NEXUS, FAST, or SENTRI; a valid Merchant Mariner Document (MMD) when traveling in conjunction with official maritime business; or a valid U.S. Military identification card when traveling on official orders.
- The implementation date will be determined based on a number of factors, including the progress of actions undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security to implement the WHTI requirements and the availability of WHTI compliant documents on both sides of the border. DHS and DOS expect the date of full WHTI implementation to be in the summer of 2008. The precise implementation date will be formally announced with at least 60 days notice.
Implemented on January 23, 2007, ALL PERSONS traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean region are required to present a passport or other valid travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.
Mexico was the site of advanced Amerindian civilizations and came under Spanish rule for three centuries before achieving independence early in the 19th century. Mexico has an impressive history
of highly developed cultures
, including those of the Olmecs, Mayas, Toltecs, and Aztecs that existed long before the Spanish conquest. Today, there are 62 indigenous people groups
in Mexico that speak 288 living languages. A devaluation of the peso in late 1994 threw Mexico into economic turmoil, triggering the worst recession in over half a century. The nation continues to make an impressive recovery. Ongoing economic and social concerns include low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the populations, inequitable income distribution, and few advancement opportunities for the largely Amerindian population in the impoverished southern states. For 71 years, Mexico's national government had been controlled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which had won every presidential race and most gubernatorial races until the July 2000 presidential election of Vicente Fox Quesada of the National Action Party (PAN) He was succeeded in 2006 by another PAN candidate Felipe Calderon.
Bordering countries are Belize 250 km, Guatemala 962 km, and the United States with the largest border of 3,141 km.
slightly less than three times the size of Texas
108,700,891 (July 2007 est.) -- 30% under age 14, 64% are 15-64 years, and only 6% over age 64 – Median age: 25.6 – Population growth rate: 1.153%
160,000 (2003 est.)
varies from tropical to desert, unusually temperate climate year-round with the Mexican summer being the rainy season
Mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish) 60%, Amerindian or predominantly Amerindian 30%, white 9%, other 1% (62 Amerindian or Indigenous people groups)
Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and 286 other regional indigenous languages
Roman Catholic 76.5%, Protestant 6.3%, other .3%, unspecified 13.8%, none 3.1%. While most Mexicans profess the Roman Catholic faith, a number of indigenous people include strong pre-Hispanic Mayan elements in their religion (syncretism).
total population over age 15: 91%, male: 92.4%, female: 89.6% In some regions such as northern Chiapas, close to 50% of adults are functionally illiterate.
3.2% plus underemployment of 25%
Population below poverty line:
35.5%, (20.4% of the labor force earns less than $2 dollars per day and 4.4% earn less than $1 dollar per day)
Mexico City, (Distrito Federal) 2nd largest city in the world with a population of 28 million
Economy (Agriculture & Industry)
Labor force: 41.51 million (2006 est.), agriculture 18%, industry 24%, services 58%
Agriculture - products: corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products
Industry: food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism
Currency: Peso (10.9P = $1 USD)
Customs & Traditions:
• Family is very important aspect of the culture with family members dependent on one another. There is a high value on relationships, both family and friends. Mexicans are more relationship oriented, while Americans tend to be more time oriented. Valuing a relationship and finishing the conversation often results in being late to the next engagement.
• Mexican society can be characterized as a patriarchal society. Relations between men and women are unequal, with the man being superior and the women being subservient particularly in rural areas.
• Children remain in the home usually until they are married and usually commute to the university from home. Mexican families find it strange that many American teens move out of their parent’s home when they attend university or work before marriage.
• Mexican cuisine is rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. The most internationally recognized dishes include tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and mole among others. Regional dishes include mole poblano, chiles en nogada and chalupas from Puebla; cabrito and machaca from Monterrey, cochinita pibil from Yucatán, Tlayudas from Oaxaca, as well as barbacoa, chilaquiles, milanesas, and many others.
• Corn is a staple food. It is most often eaten in the form of a tortilla.
• The main Mexican ingredients consist of chicken, pork, beef, potatoes, corn, tomatoes, peppers chillis, onions, peanuts, avocados and guavas.
• Popular beverages include water flavored with a variety of fruit juices, and cinnamon-flavored hot chocolate cooked with water and beaten into foam.
• Real Mexican food is quite unlike the dishes found in most Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants. Mexican cuisine has some superb rich or spicy dishes.
Sports: The national traditional sports of Mexico are Bullfighting and Charreria. Football (soccer) is also highly appreciated and is regarded to be the most popular contemporary recreation in the country.
Arts: Mexico is known worldwide for its folk art traditions, mostly derived from a combination of the indigenous and Spanish crafts. Particularly notable among handicrafts are the clay pottery made in the valley of Oaxaca and the bird and animal figures made in the village of Tonala. Colorfully embroidered cotton garments, cotton or wool shawls and outer garments, and colorful baskets and rugs are seen everywhere. After the Mexican Revolution, a new generation of Mexican artists led a vibrant national movement that incorporated political, historic, and folk themes in their work. Mexican folk dancing and music is an art form that has been kept very much alive to this day and varies slightly from region to region. The music groups that are so well known around the world and immediately associated to Mexico are the ever popular mariachi bands.
• There are many customs and traditions
attributed to Mexican culture, which are especially evident during the many festivities and celebrations. Many have evolved during the years but still have their roots in times long gone by of the Aztecs and Mayas and also of Iberian influences.
• Many of the men wear cotton shirts and trousers, many of which are indigenous to their people group. They also wear leather sandals known as huaraches. Sombreros
are wide-brimmed felt or straw hats. They wear ponchos when it is cold or when it rains. The women wear blouses with long, full skirts. They also wear plastic sandals. The women cover their heads with the rebozos
• Mealtimes are important to Mexicans. Eating is not only about the delicious dishes typical of Spain but also about socializing – a great way to get together with family and friends and enjoy their company. In Mexico, friends and family always come first.
• Once they know one another, people greet each other: men with a handshake and women or people of the opposite sex will kiss one another once on the cheek. Men and male colleagues never kiss one another unless it is a child, father or uncle. Christian men may often shake hands, followed by a hug, and then a final handshake.
• January 1—New Year’s
• January 6—Day of the Wise Men (Three Kings visit to baby Jesus)
• February 5—Constitution Day
• March 21—Benito Juarez Day (famous president)
• April—Holy Week (children out of school the week after Easter)
• May 5—Cinco de Mayo (Mexico victory over the French in Puebla in 1862)
• May 10—Mother’s Day (always on the 10th, not Sunday)
• September 16—Mexican Independence Day
• October 12l—Dia de la Raza (Columbus arrival to the Americas and historical origins of Mexican race
• November 1-2—Day of the Dead (All Saints Day)
• November 20—Mexican Revolution Day
• December 12—Virgin of Guadalupe Day (Patron Saint of Mexico)
• December16—Las Posadas (celebrates Joseph and Mary's search for shelter in Bethlehem with candlelight processions that end at various nativity scenes. Las Posadas continues through January 6.)
• December 25—Christmas
Orphans and at-risk children
• There are 1,600,000 orphans 0-17 years old in Mexico (2005 est. by UNICEF)
• Mexico City has 1,900,000 underprivileged and street children. 240,000 of these are abandoned children. (Action International Ministries)
• In the central area of Mexico City there are 11,172 street children, 1,020 live in the street and 10,152 work there (City of Mexico/Fideicomiso, Report, 1991)
• Begging – Some 20% of the children survive by begging, 24% by selling goods, and others by doing subcontracting work. (“over 5 million child laborers in Mexico”, Xinhua:Comtex, 14 September 2000, citing National System for the Integral Development of the Family (DIF), “Prevention, Attention, Discouragement and Eradication of Childhood Labor”)
• 8-11 million children under the age of 15 years are working in Mexico. (US Dept of Labor, Sweat and Toil of Children, 1994, citing US Dept of State, Human Rights Report, 1993)
• "Street children" is a term often used to describe both market children (who work in the streets and markets of cities selling or begging, and live with their families) and homeless street children (who work, live and sleep in the streets, often lacking any contact with their families). At highest risk is the latter group. Murder, consistent abuse and inhumane treatment are the "norm" for these children, whose ages range from six to 18. They often resort to petty theft and prostitution for survival. They are extremely vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS. An estimated 90% of them are addicted to inhalants such as shoe glue and paint thinner, which cause kidney failure, irreversible brain damage and, in some cases, death. (Casa Alianza)
Buckner in Mexico
In August 2007, Buckner began exploring ministry opportunities in the Mexico interior, as well as along the northern Mexico border with the United States. Buckner had been made aware of an opportunity in Arcelia, Guerrero to help start an orphanage in collaboration with a local donor and two Dallas churches. During the last quarter of 2007, more doors for ministry opportunities have also opened in Oaxaca, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Sinaloa, Camargo, Juarez, Nogales, and Tijuana/Tecate.
Buckner services and country support include:
• On-going humanitarian aid through Gift from the Heart program and Shoes for Orphan Souls.
• On-going mission trips throughout the year ministering to the children in orphanages in Arcelia, Guerrero, Camargo, Tamaulipas, Nogales, Sonora, and Tecate, Baja California.
• Volunteer ministry opportunities with at-risk children through community centers and feeding programs in Oaxaca, Oaxaca; Mexico City; San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato; and Los Mochis, Sinaloa. Also, provide job skill training for single mothers in these community centers.
• Pilot foster care program in collaboration with a Mexico City church for children born in prison, abandoned children, and babies saved from abortion through the ministry of a Crisis Pregnancy Center.
• Build and help develop day care program for at-risk children of single working moms in Juarez.
• You can view a summary of Mexico interior projects or Mexico border projects online or download the most current complete list of all Mexico mission projects.
Typical mission trips include
• Church Group Trips
• Shoes for Orphan Souls Trips
• Medical/Dental Mission Trips
• Construction Trips
• Community Ministry Activities