United States

Residents Request Dual Citizenship in Fear of Deportation

An increasing number of immigrants from Mexico are signing their United States-born children up for dual citizenship in fear of deportation.

"Some of them are afraid if they have to go back to Mexico," said Carlos Escudero from San Jose's Mexican Consulate. "They want to be on the safe side with their documents."

Last year, the number of applicants for dual citizenship doubled at San Jose’s Mexican consulate, to almost 1,500, compared to 2016. This year, the numbers are keeping pace.

The list of those looking for dual citizenship includes residents with green cars who fear of potential changes to U.S. rules for legal immigrants.

The consulate said dual citizenship would allow the American-born children immigrants to go to school in Mexico, as Mexicans, not as foreigners. This means they would not have to pay international fees, and they would qualify for the country’s universal healthcare, perks that are not provided to non-citizens in Mexico.

"I’m very proud to be Mexican, and I want my daughter to be Mexican too, like me," said Karina Romero, who was at the consulate to sign up her daughter Gimena, who was born in the U.S., for dual citizenship.

Though the Romeros are doing it mostly for cultural pride, the consulate said the fear is real, even for legal immigrants who are increasingly unsure about their status in this county.

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