The government of Mexico has started a wide-ranging new strategy to encourage the millions of Mexican immigrants living in the United States who are eligible for citizenship via naturalization to seek dual citizenship. Gaining US citizenship allows Mexicans to gain welfare and healthcare benefits in addition to offering influence over government officials via voting, according to the general counsel of Mexico in New York, Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain.
“The new strategy of promoting dual nationality … will allow our citizens in the United States and people of Mexican origin to obtain significant benefits on economic, social and political matters, as well as to strengthen their ties to both countries,” announced the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations late last month.
The Pew Research Center says Mexico is the nation with the biggest population eligible to gain US citizenship via naturalization. Two years ago, in 2013, there were estimated to be around 5.4 million Mexican immigrants eligible to gain US citizenship; however, the rate of naturalization is just 36% ‒ half that of legal immigrants from every other country put together, according to the Center.
Miguel Basanez, the United States’ Mexican ambassador, says it is vital to make Mexican-Americans aware that participating in civic issues is in their own best interests; however, anti-immigration voices may say that legal Mexican residents of the US who become citizens would strengthen the Latino electoral base and result in accusations that Mexico’s ‘new strategy’ is an attempt to interfere with the internal political process of the United States.