2011-10-12, Nancy Oretskin, Border Issues

Again at 12:15PM, President Ross Ramsey called the meeting to order and led us in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.  Harry Hansen led us in prayer and Denton Holmes selected a rousing song we all could sing “Home on the Range”.   The Smile and Shake followed with Earl Phillips circulating as the mystery greeter.  

looking for the mystery greeterPresident Ross then introduced our Student Rotarians of the Month.  He went on to announce that the “Don’t Meth With Us” project revenue has risen to $12,000 after the Bi-District meeting.  He stated that the club initiated the project with a $3,000 grant which was matched by the District with another $3,000.  District 4110 in Mexico then followed with a $6,000 match grant.  While this still isn’t the full project budget, it is a great start!  Committee Chair Mel Parish then reported that they could use some additional volunteer speakers.  See Mel if you can help.  Mel ParishBarbara Rose Farber reported that her husband has undergone tests for Parkinson’s Disease and there is a 90% chance he has contracted the disease.  She asked for our prayers.  Paula reported that Tara Alexander’s baby now weighs 17 pounds.  It was clarified that was not her baby’s birth weight.  It was also reported that Ana Mangino’s husband, Pistol, was in the hospital with heart problems.  Matt Holt reported that the Dress The Child dinner raised over $17,000 and money is still coming in.  Finally, Barbara Rose Farber donated three cute pink purses with pink bracelets inside to be auctioned off with the proceeds going to Tough Enough To Wear Pink.  A spirited auction followed.  Thanks Barbara Rose!  (Also for the Halloween candy.)

The Program

October Program Chair Chris Dulany then introduced our guest speaker, Nancy Oretskin, Professor of Business Law in the Finance Department of the NMSU College of Business.  Dr. Oretskin stated that in addition to her teaching duties, she is affiliated with the El Paso law firm of Carlos Spector that specializes in immigration law.  She assists in requests for political asylum by Mexican citizens who are being threatened by criminals or political rivals in their home country.  To gain political asylum, the applicants have to prove they suffer persecution because they are part of a particular social group or because of their political or religious beliefs.

Nancy OretskinShe reported that since the start of the Mexican drug wars, over 9,600 people have been killed in Juarez with 70,000-80,000 being killed in Mexico.  She stated that not all those killed were associated with the drug cartels.  Many are innocent bystanders or small business owners who refused to submit to extortion by small time criminals.  Often they are caught between the criminals and corrupt police or military.  She noted that very few of the murderers have ever been caught or prosecuted. Thus many honest Mexican citizens and their families are seeking asylum in the United States. 

She then went on to recount the legal reasons and methods a foreign citizen may use to seek asylum in the US.  She noted that there were more than 3,200 applications in 2010 and only 47 were approved.  There is a legal backlog that stretches to 2015.  She also stated that for some reason, Mexican citizens have a tougher time having asylum granted than persons from other foreign countries.  For example only 02% of the Mexican applications were approved last year while 38% of Chinese applications were granted.  Dr. Oretskin then recounted some specific cases of Mexican citizens who were seeking asylum because of death threats or killings in their family.  She said that most of these individuals had to flee Mexico with no financial support.  As a result, the Carlos Spector Law Office has established a new non-profit organization called “Mexicanos En Exilio” that is seeking funds to assist indigent persons seeking asylum.   Questions and answers followed.  

After the Program

The second reading was held for proposed member Michele Murphy.  Richelle Ponder won the drawing.  Paulina reported the can raised $94.00 for the club project.  The meeting concluded at 1:00PM after recitation of The Four Way Test. 

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Guests of Rotarians





Visiting Rotarian


Home Club



Student Guests



Mary Johnston

Las Cruces

Aylin White


Douglas Brown

Mesilla Valley Christian





Elaine Szalay


Rio Grande

Submitted by Ron SalakRon Salak