Mexican Government Promotes Dual-Citizenship Program
The Mexican government is encouraging those who are eligible to become dual US-Mexican citizens. Mexico believes the effort will benefit both countries.
Karina De La Cruz sits patiently at the Mexican Consul General’s office in Austin. She’s a Mexican citizen who has legally lived in Texas for 25 years. Her children are U.S. citizens.
De La Cruz is waiting to apply for a program that will give her and her kids citizenship rights in both countries.
“Half of my life has been here, so it’s exciting to be able to have the rights as any U.S. citizen, but at the same time I don’t want to lose my roots,” De La Garza said.
In January, Mexican officials announced an effort to promote dual U.S.-Mexican citizenship. It isn’t a new option. In 1998, Mexico dropped a policy that had canceled Mexican citizenship for people when they became citizens of another country.
Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, the Mexican Consul General in Austin, said some Mexicans living abroad don’t know the law was changed.
“So, it’s just making sure that they understand that they don’t lose the Mexican links, that they don’t lose Mexican nationality, that the Mexican government doesn’t see it as a wrong thing to do to become U.S. citizens,” Gonzalez-Gutierrez said.
The Consul General says helping qualified Mexicans like De La Cruz gain their U.S. citizenship provides them protection in the workplace.
“Which is a long-term strategy of building skills and capacities to empower them in order to better to protect their interests and their rights. Part of our jobs as consuls is to help them integrate into the United States. In other words, to help them leave the margins of society, to help them leave the bottom of the U.S. social pyramid,” Gonzalez-Gutierrez stressed.
De La Cruz said gaining Mexican citizenship for her U.S.-born children also gives them additional rights.
“Yeah, so, they can have the same rights that I have in Mexico, you know in case they want to go to Mexico and study and know my country more, that’s a good thing for them to have,” De La Garza explained.
The Consul General said 600,000 Mexican nationals living in Texas qualify for U.S. citizenship. Nationwide an estimated 20 million U.S. children born to Mexican parents qualify for Mexican citizenship, which would give them a range of benefits, including access to public universities and the right to own Mexican property.