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U.S.-born MexicansEasing integration burdens of U.S.-born children in Mexico

Published 21 September 2016

About 550,000 children born in the United States are currently living in Mexico because their parents had been deported or voluntarily repatriated themselves (since 2010, the United States has deported 1.4 million Mexicans). These children face many hurdles – legal, social, cultural, linguistic, educational – trying to integrate themselves into life in Mexico. The U.S. and Mexican governments have reached an agreement on a plan to ease bureaucratic obstacles blocking these children from gaining access to health and education.

About 550,000 children born in the United States are currently living in Mexico because their parents had been deported or voluntarily repatriated themselves (since 2010, the United States has deported 1.4 million Mexicans). These children face many hurdles – legal, social, cultural, linguistic, educational – trying to integrate themselves into life in Mexico.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. and Mexican governments have reached an agreement on a plan to ease bureaucratic obstacles blocking these children from gaining access to health and education.

The Mexican constitution guarantees automatic Mexican citizenship to children if even one parent is Mexican, let alone if both are. This automatic Mexican nationality also entails a guaranteed equal access to government services such as health and education – but there is a hitch: if the parents had failed to register their child’s birth in a Mexican consulate in the United States before leaving the United States, they face an expensive and tortuous process of obtaining the necessary papers from the Mexican government bureaucracy.

The Mexican national statistics institute says that the parents of about 300,000 of the 550,000 U.S.-born children have not registered their children in the nearest Mexican consulate – and, as a result, these children are not entitled to services and benefits such as school, scholarships, social programs, and basic health services such as vaccinations.

Most parents bring the original U.S. birth certificate of their children with them – but the Mexican civil registries require that the U.S. birth certificate be sent to the state where the child was born for an official translation and an official stamp. This requirement has proven too difficult for many Mexican parents, especially those living in rural areas in Mexico.

The new program aims to ease the burden a growing number of binational children.

The new plan allows Mexican families to present their children’s U.S. birth certificate to the Mexican civil registry. The Mexican National Population Registry will verify the authenticity of the birth certificate through the U.S. National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information, which consolidates U.S. birth records electronically.