The Mexican Consul in Seattle has been telling Mexicans here to "be calm, but be prepared."

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The election of Donald Trump as president sent shudders through many people of Mexican heritage living in the U.S. — whether here legally or not.

In response, the Mexican Consul in Seattle, Roberto Dondisch, has been telling Mexicans here to “be calm, but be prepared.”

What does that mean? And what does the Mexican Consul do anyway? On Episode 45 of The Overcast, the weekly Seattle Times politics podcast, Dondisch joins reporter Daniel Beekman to chat about those topics, plus NAFTA, political representation for Latinos, and climate change.

This episode was recorded in the Seattle studios of KNKX 88.5 FM public radio, as part of our ongoing partnership.

Dondisch discusses how Trump’s “very disturbing” campaign rhetoric has changed the situation for people of Mexican heritage over the last several months. While much remains unknown, he says there is a lot of worry about the rules changing for what constitutes a deportable crime, and how immigration agents do their jobs.

People of Mexican heritage represent Washington state’s largest minority group – about 790,000 people. Dondisch, who has been posted here about a year, explains just what the consulate, based in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood, does for that population — from helping people get passports or ID cards to providing health clinics.

Dondisch tells us about the trade ties between Washington state and Mexico — from beer to airplanes — and argues that free trade’s benefits are often harder to see than its costs, which explains some of the criticism of NAFTA. “Millions of jobs in the U.S. depend directly on trade with Mexico,” he says. That’s why Gov. Jay Inslee and Mayor Ed Murray have been on trade missions there in recent months.

Dondisch also explains Mexico’s views on climate change – he was Mexico’s lead negotiator in the recent Paris climate agreement that Trump has withdrawn the U.S from. “We think it’s unfortunate… to step away from Paris,” he says.

There’s much more, so listen in and let us know what you think.

Subscribe to The Overcast on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher or via RSS. If you listen on iTunes, please leave us a review there.

Listen to past episodes of The Overcast here, and check out other Seattle Times podcasts here.

Send us your feedback and your ideas for future topics. Leave a comment on this post, tweet at us (@Jim_Brunner and @DBeekman), email seattletimesovercast@gmail.com or leave a voicemail at 206-464-8778.