EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexicans living abroad sent nearly $3.6 billion to family members in Mexico in October through electronic transfers, money orders and even envelopes stuffed with cash.
Their remittances are one of the pillars holding the Mexican economy together, yet when they visit the old homeland many are treated like strangers, says a congressman from Juarez who’s trying to change that.
Juan Carlos Loera de la Rosa this week got the Government and Population Commission of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies to endorse a change to the law so as to no longer require naturalized U.S. citizens who were born in Mexico to pay the $30 FMM visitor permit fee, also known as a tourist card.
The proposal is backed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s MORENA political party and is awaiting scheduling for a full vote in the Chamber of Deputies.
“Millions who were displaced by the neoliberal governments – by the dictatorship of money – acquired a second nationality but never lost their love for Mexico. But when they visit their families and show their U.S. passports, they’re asked for a permit at immigration checkpoints,” Loera said. “If you’re born in Mexico, you’re a Mexican for life. This is a violation of the rights of those who contribute so much to our country from abroad.”
Remittances to Mexico have shot up during the first 10 months of the year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Banxico (the Bank of Mexico), the country received $33.56 billion from that one source from January to the end of October, compared to $30.4 billion during the same time frame last year.
Loera’s proposal would allow residents of Texas, California or even other countries to enter Mexico as Mexican nationals showing their U.S. or other foreign passports that include the person’s country of birth.
The congressman from the MORENA Party said the proposal merely modifies a statute – Article 3 of the Mexican Nationality Act – and requires no constitutional amendment. One was already passed in 1997 establishing that Mexicans who acquire another citizenship don’t automatically lose Mexican nationality.
“We are a society with an important number of binational families,” Loera said. “They live here, they live over there. They go there, they come back here. Some are split because of walls. […] Mexico should not be one to place borders between families, too.”
U.S. law does not require that naturalized American citizens who retain or acquire another nationality choose between one or the other. According to the State Department website, a U.S. citizen may naturalize in a foreign state without risking his American citizenship. However, they must use their U.S. passports when coming into ports of entry or exiting the country through one.
A naturalized American may lose his citizenship by stating intent to renounce it, running for public office or entering military service in another country (under specific circumstances) or committing an act of treason against the United States.