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U.S.-Born Children Of Migrants Lose Rights In Mexico

By: Adriana Gomez Licon


Source: www.huffingtonpost.com


 


MALINALCO, Mexico -- As a cold drizzle washed over this town of narrow cobblestone streets in the forested highlands of central Mexico, mothers waiting outside the colonial-era cultural center wrapped wool blankets around the infants snuggled in their arms. Other parents tightened plastic bags around folders filled with U.S. passports and birth certificates from California, Ohio and Texas.

One by one, the parents filed inside, sat down before a Mexican government worker and told stories of lives that had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border twice. First, they crossed illegally into the United States for work, found jobs, and had children. Then, they were caught and deported, or left on their own as the work dried up with the U.S. economic slump. Now they are back in Mexico with children who are American citizens by virtue of being born on U.S. soil.

Because of the byzantine rules of Mexican and U.S. bureaucracies, tens of thousands of those children without Mexican citizenship now find themselves without access to basic services in Mexico – unable to officially register in school or sign up for health care at public hospitals and clinics that give free check-ups and medicines.

At issue is a Mexican government requirement that any official document from another country be certified inside that country with a seal known as an "apostille," then be translated by a certified, and often expensive, translator in Mexico.

It's a growing problem in Mexico as hundreds of thousands return home because of the sluggish U.S. job market and a record number of deportations. Illegal migration of Mexicans to the U.S. is at its lowest level in decades, with more Mexicans now leaving the United States than entering it each year.

More than 300,000 U.S.-born children have been brought to Mexico since 2005, out of a total of 1.4 million people who moved back from the U.S. during that period, according to the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center.

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