Subscribe

Mexicans can now get birth certificates in the US

Mexico is supporting President Obama's immigration reforms by making it easier for Mexicans in the US to get birth certificates - and that makes it easier for Mexicans to apply for US work permits, driver's licenses, and protection from deportation.

  • close
    Daniel Penaloza, of Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, explains how to obtain a driver license under AB 60 Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015 at Porterville Public Library in Porterville, Calif.
    (AP Photo/The Porterville Recorder, Chieko Hara)
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

The Mexican government on Thursday will start issuing birth certificates to its citizens at consulates in the United States, seeking to make it easier for them to apply for U.S. work permits, driver's licenses and protection from deportation.

Until now, Mexico has required citizens to get birth certificates at government offices in Mexico. Many of those living in the U.S. ask friends and relatives back home to retrieve them, which can delay their applications for immigration or other programs.

Now, even as Republicans in Congress try to quash President Barack Obama's reprieve to millions of immigrants living illegally in the U.S., Mexico is trying to help them apply for programs that would allow them to remain temporarily in the country and continue sending money back to relatives across the border.

"It is a huge help. It helps individuals really begin to formulate their formal identity in this country," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

About half of the 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally are from Mexico, and immigration experts estimate that roughly 3 million Mexicans could be eligible to apply for work permits and protection from deportation under the administration's plan.

About two weeks ago, California — which is home to more Mexicans than any other state — began issuing driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.

Starting Thursday, the country's 50 consulates in the United States will be able to access data maintained by regional governments in Mexico and print birth certificates at the consulates, said Arturo Sanchez, consul for press and commercial affairs in Santa Ana, California.

Consulates should be able to issue birth certificates for nearly all birthplaces in Mexico, but some rural villages where documents are not digitally recorded may not be covered, Sanchez said.

Over the past year, the Santa Ana consulate has seen a surge in the demand for documents. Daily appointments have jumped by a third to nearly 400, with many people trying to get birth certificates, Sanchez said.

Mexican immigrants usually seek birth certificates to obtain a passport or consular identification card so they can then apply for a driver's license or immigration relief, he said.

In California, Mexican consular officials have supported the rollout of the new driver's license program, holding information sessions and offering test preparation classes to help immigrants pass the written test required to get a license.

Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, said she believes Mexico is trying to make it easier for its citizens to stay here because of the money they send across the border.

Mexican migrant workers, many who live in the United States, sent home $21.6 billion to their families in 2013, according to the country's central bank.

Vaughan, whose organization advocates for tighter limits on immigration, said the integrity of birth certificates is critical because they are used to issue key identity documents like passports.

"If we can trust the Mexican government to do its due diligence and establish a system with integrity, then this will work and it is up to us to make sure we are communicating with them about what we need to see in terms of integrity," she said. "That is a big if."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK