Immigrants set to receive Mexican birth certificates in U.S.

Posted by and on January 15, 2015
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Visitors walk from the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, Ark., after the grand opening of the building in this Wednesday, April 25, 2007 file photo. The Mexican government on Thursday Jan. 15, 2015 will start issuing birth certificates to its citizens at consulates in the United States, seeking to make it easier for them to apply for U.S. work permits, driver's licenses and protection from deportation. (AP/File)

Visitors walk from the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, Ark., after the grand opening of the building in this Wednesday, April 25, 2007 file photo. The Mexican government on Thursday Jan. 15, 2015 will start issuing birth certificates to its citizens at consulates in the United States, seeking to make it easier for them to apply for U.S. work permits, driver’s licenses and protection from deportation. (AP/File)

— On Thursday, the Mexican government began issuing birth certificates to its citizens at consulates in the United States. This move is seen as a way of helping immigrants stay in the country under the extreme immigration policy President Obama put in place.

Birth certificates will make it easier for Mexican immigrants to apply for drivers licenses, work permits and ultimately protection from deportation. Until now, the Mexican government required its citizens to get birth certificates in Mexico. Many had to ask friends and families living in Mexico to retrieve them.

While Republicans in Congress are trying to undo Obama’s plan to shield millions of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. from deportation, Mexico is trying to help them stay here and continue sending money back to relatives across the border. About half the 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally are from Mexico, and immigration experts say roughly 3 million of them could be eligible under the administration’s plan.

The new practice comes two weeks after California — home to more Mexicans than any other state — began issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants who are in the country illegally.

U.S. Representative Duncan Hunter complained that American and Mexican policies have combined to send more people across the border. “The administration’s position and efforts seem to better align with Mexico’s interests than they do with our own — and that’s disappointing,” he said.

Mexican migrant workers living abroad sent home $21.6 billion to their families in 2013, according to the country’s central bank.

This move by the Mexican government comes a day after the House approved a Department of Homeland Security funding package that would defund the administration’s executive amnesty. Mexican consulates are able to access data from regional governments, however, will have a hard time with rural villages as documents from there are not digitally recorded.

Associated Press Writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report from Washington.

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