Yesterday the government of Mexico began issuing birth certificates to its citizens at its US consulates. This will make immigrants’ lives easier by allowing them to obtain driver’s licenses and work permits while protecting them from the threat of deportation.
In the past Mexican citizens have been forced to return home to obtain a birth certificate. While relatives and friends can help in this process, it can take a lot longer than it should and results in applications for numerous benefits being continually delayed. Now, however, Mexico is trying to actively help its citizens to stay in the United States so that they can keep sending money back to their relatives at home.
Of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States, around half are believed to be from Mexico and around three million of these are likely to be eligible for protection from deportation and work permits under the executive action on immigration reform ordered by President Obama. Those who try to gain official permission to remain generally have to supply photographic ID, usually in the form of a passport, which it is not possible to obtain without a birth certificate.
“It is a huge help,” says the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles’ executive director, Angelica Salas. “It helps individuals really begin to formulate their formal identity in this country.”