Skip to comments.Immigrating to Mexico (A study in hypocrisy)
Posted on 03/24/2006 12:51:11 PM PST by anymouse
Below is a NONpropietary documented list of some noteworthy differences between Mexico's and the USA's immigration regulatory legal schemes. Please feel free to use its contents in any altruistic way that you like. The contents of this article do not necessarily reflect the views of those who run these bilingual Mexico directories, but the desire for prosperity in Mexico is shared by all who are involved in maintaining these directories as well as this legal analysis. There are probably under 100,000 U.S. born American citizens in Mexico and by some estimates as many as 20 million Mexico-born Mexicans in the USA. If the following anti-immigrant restrictions in Mexico are finally reformed so that Mexico's laws became nearly as "friendly" to foreigners as the USA's already are, would Mexico (with its consequently increasing investment) still need to send so many of its people to sadly serve in menial tasks abroad? Everyone involved with maintaining these directories and this article loves and admires the Mexican people, and that is precisely why we have decided to maintain this informative list...
*** U.S. citizens in Mexico still cannot own property within 50 kilometers of the coasts or within 100 kilometers of the border withOUT having to go through the mysterious and at times unpredictable bureaucracy involving fideicomisos (trusts). To confirm this, see article 2 clause VI of Mexico's Ley de Inversión Extranjera / Foreign Investment Law:
We are not aware that such an anti-immigrant restriction exists in the USA for Mexicans who are not U.S. citizens. We are aware, however, of cases involving U.S. Citizens who lost valuable property in Mexican states such as Chiapas and Baja California because of this discriminatory real estate legal scheme.
***Mexicans, and people of Mexican parentage can become dual citizens of Mexico and the USA. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens who are NOT of Mexican descent are still prohibited from becoming citizens of Mexico, unless they are willing to formally and fraudulently represent that they have renounced their U.S. citizenship. See articles 17 & 19 of Mexico's Ley de Nacionalidad:
Such fraud is grounds for both deportation from Mexico and possible legal problems in the U.S.A. though At the very least, rights to own beach or frontier zone property are limited for an American citizen who has lived for decades in Mexico but who has understandably NOT renounced his or her U.S. citizenship. By the way, Article 20 I c) is an example of how Mexico gives preferential treatment to folks from Latin American nations or the Spanish peninsula when awarding nationality status versus their gringo competitors, despite the existence of N.A.F.T.A. This difference is documented by the U.S. State Department:
Also, here is the State Department's statement on dual nationality:
***A U.S. citizen who is not of Mexican descent and who therefore cannot simultaneously be legally recognized as a Mexican citizen cannot legally vote in Mexico. He or she also cannot be immuned from a sudden, abruptly imposed permanent deportation [without a hearing, in fact] for the opportunistically vague crime of getting involved somehow in political matters, or of being considered "inconvenient" for Mexico. One can confirm this political restriction's existence by consulting Mexico's Constitutional Article #33 at:
***We are not aware that Mexico allows foreign-born citizens to hold truly significant governmental posts, especially not if they are of non-Mexican ancestry and if they want to maintain dual citizenship elsewhere. In contrast, the U.S.A. has allowed various foreigners to hold truly prominent federal and gubernatorial offices without requiring that they renounce their citizenship abroad. Among them are Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
***When annually renewing a Mexican visa, foreigners have to be present in Mexico and wait for the immigration officials to decide on something that could probably just as easily be decided upon while they are outside of Mexico. Mexican visas almost never get renewed for people who are not physically in Mexico. Such people must instead request a brand new visa and lose credit for the time during which the previous visa was held. In contrast, the USA reportedly lets foreigners who happen to be outside of the USA when the time for visa extension arrives actually extend their visas while still outside of the USA, at the nearest U.S. Embassy. H-2 (agriculture) visas and NAFTA visas are reportedly among those that Mexicans can renew while OUTSIDE of the U.S.A.
***At least as of April, 2005, the U.S. Treasury Department still accepted the Mexican consulate-issued matricula card for undocumented Mexicans in the U.S.A., and many U.S. banks lawfully accepted them too in order to tap into the flow of some of the finite supply of dollars that Mexicans send out of our country. Nevertheless, what acceptance does Mexico and its banks offer for foreigners who have not yet successfully navigated Mexico's immigration system? It is incomparable.
***Mexico's Immigration Institute often delays Americans' visa renewals for what one can politely describe as some of the most difficult to comprehend reasons, thereby forcing immigrants to stay in the country until they resolve matters. For example, at least sometimes the Institute officially gives rejection responses which do NOT list all problems with Americans' renewal applications. Instead, the process is sometimes handled in piecemeal fashion. Then, after the initially reported problem is hopefully resolved, Americans subsequently have to go through much of the submission process again, which could be expedited if the Mexican government would simply report everything that a renewal application is lacking in the INITIAL reply. Although some Mexican Immigration apologists might try and defensively claim that subsequent reported problems are contingent upon foreigners' resolution of initial ones, such that the piecemeal response approach supposedly could not be avoided, this "excuse" is NOT appropriate. Matters that have nothing to do with one another are at times used as obstacles on separate occasions, instead of simultaneously. Does the USA put Mexicans through such hurdles?
***By the time an American has complied with Mexico's immigration hurdles, he or she has practically no privacy left. Worse still, his or her information becomes potentially available to people in the business world who are particularly interested in obtaining it. Are safeguards regarding confidential information not a great deal stronger inside of the U.S.A.'s immigration department? Arguably they are.
We do not doubt that there are also other significant, effectively "anti-gringo" legal differences regarding foreigners in our two countries. Meanwhile, here are some additional facts worth considering:
***Self-serving conflicts of interest exist with Mexico's immigration agency. Indeed, in November of 1998 a public protest among Immigration workers in Mexico City took place because fines ("multas") waged against Americans in Mexico were no longer getting shared with the employees who were SIMULTANEOUSLY supposed to offer RELIABLE advice to foreigners so that they could avoid being fined in the first place. We do not know how this labor dispute was resolved but we would not be surprised if the same conflict of interest endures there. In the U.S.A., do such fines paid not go directly to the U.S. Treasury instead of essentially directly to the immigration employees who are SUPPOSED to want U.S. citizens to know how to AVOID being fined?
***"Coyotes" are Mexicans who specialize in handling foreigners´ paperwork with Mexico's immigration agency, and they share bounties with the immigration officials in various subtle ways (especially at restaurants and night clubs as this article's attorney author has personally observed). To say the least, this collaboration feeds the perception that conflicts of interest abound among immigration officials who might OTHERWISE make things less complicated for Americans in Mexico.
*** There are as many as 20 million Mexico-born Mexicans living in the USA (if not more). In contrast, although Mexican immigration officials claim that plenty of > U.S.-born < U.S. citizens reside in Mexico, we have not seen credible proof of this. We tend to believe that there are fewer than 100,000 (yes, one hundred thousand or less) U.S.-born U.S. citizens living in Mexico. A 500,000 estimate has been floated around, supposedly by the U.S. State Department and the Census Bureau, but that figure reportedly includes plenty of U.S. citizens who were actually born in Mexico and later benefited from the U.S.A.'s already very permissive immigration laws. Incidentally, during the Rodney King riots of 1992 in Los Angeles, reportedly half of those arrested were illegal immigrants from Mexico. Mexico nevertheless demands immigration amnesty in the U.S.A. even as Mexico still won't make its own laws even as hospitable to foreigners as California's Proposition 187 referendum still would have been to Mexicans back during 1994, before a U.S. judge basically nullified Prop. 187 after Mexicans peculiarly called that *Mexican American-supported referendum "racist". What do they consider their own immigration laws in Mexico, then?
In conclusion, are Mexico's immigration reform demands of us not hypocritical? Incidentally, here's Mexico's immigration institute online:
Meanwhile, here are Mexico's federal laws:
Additionally, here is Mexico's "law of populations" (immigration):
The search word on the aforementioned index page ( http://www.cddhcu.gob.mx/leyinfo ) is "poblacion," in case you want the .PDF link instead of a textual document.
And again, here's Mexico's "law of nationality":
If you prefer a .PDF version, it's linked from the words "Ley de Nacionalidad" on the abovementioned index page. Here's a free online translator, by the way:
In conclusion, as ironic as this may sound, wouldn't it help Mexico become much stronger and Mexicans there become much wealthier and happier if the following authorities & organizations in the USA focused more on this article's contents and less on sad traditions such as anti-immigrant rhetoric?
In no way do any of us advocate Mexico-bashing or anti-immigrant sentiment in the USA or in Mexico. Instead we advocate greater understanding of the facts and relevant laws, which still seems lacking in the media and in debate forums. We would love to see Mexico someday achieve its impressive potential in the emerging global marketplace. Wouldn't our governents' finally addressing the abovementioned legal differences help elevate Mexico's $9,000 annual GDP per capita to more closely resemble the USA's $38,000 figure? We would like nothing better for our beloved friends in the USA's neighboring trading partner.
I've seen enough of Mexico to say you couldn't get me to live there if you GAVE me ocean-front property complete with mansion.
Mexico can discriminate against legal immigrants; The US cannot discriminate against legal or illegal immigrants.
Do those Mexicans act a bit xenophobic, or are they just corrupt? Hard to distinguish.
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Hypocritically enough, even as the protesters CLAIM to want to help Mexico improve, almost none of them bothered to register to vote absentee in Mexico's presidential & federal elections this July (even though there's no incumbency allowed in Mexico). Of the millions and millions of Mexicans who are eligible to vote from abroad, only a few thousand bothered to register to vote absentee and the deadline has passed. Those and other unflattering exposé details are included at the still little-known link that this thread's based on:
If only more Congressional reps. knew this stuff, and more media editors and talkshow hosts...
It's easier to corruptly impose monopolies on the masses down in Mexico when foreigners are so vulnerable to deportation for any ole' reason. The side-effect that so many Mexicans have to flee and seek refuge is supposed to be ignored by us. If we don't ignore it, we get called racist. If we bring their own immigration laws to their attention, they quiet down and change the subject. It works.
Most Americans in Mexico aren't yet organized or emboldened enough to take a stand. It's too risky and the potential benefit doesn't seem to be on the horizon (yet).
"The people have the government that they deserve."
That's actually a very popular saying in Mexico, in fact, even as almost no Mexicans abroad bothered to register to vote absentee in the federal elections coming up soon (and now it's too late).
An expatriate American friend in Mexico City just e-mailed me that:
Bill Oreilly was talking to a US citizen Mexican activist this week and he asked him, why do you want us to forgive Mexicans that enter illegally when if a US citizen crossed into Mexico illegally and was caught they would spend time in Jail. Also look how very difficult it is for US citizens to obtain documents to work and live in Mexico.
We are starting to get the word out, folks. Congress definitely has NOT approved amnesty (yet). Let's keep our gun powder dry and our positive attitudes intact. It's for a good cause.
The U.S. Senate is supposedly going to vote on the amnesty issue by the end of May...