Posted on August 9, 2004

Mexico To Restart Dual Citizenship Plan

Ángel González, Dallas Morning News, Aug. 5

Many Mexicans want their citizenship back.

According to alternate consul Juan José Salgado, 80 to 90 people who lost their Mexican citizenship by becoming American citizens drop by the consulate every month to ask if they can regain their old citizenship — without giving up their new U.S. status.

The inquiries are based on a pilot five-year program that expired in 2003.

The good news for those people is that the Mexican government on Thursday resumed honoring those requests.

A law went into effect last month restarting a program that will restore Mexican citizenship to those who lost it before a 1998 constitutional reform gave Mexicans the right to hold dual nationality. The consulate in Dallas received all the material necessary to carry out the process Thursday.

The 1998 Nationality Law accorded five years for people recover their citizenship, and more than 67,000 did before the program ended in March 2003. But some waited until the last minute — and beyond.

“When the deadline was over, [Mexican lawmakers] realized that a lot of people had been left out,” Mr. Salgado said.

According to Mr. Salgado, the dual citizenship application takes two weeks and costs $15, and the advantages are many.

“It’s as if they had two homes,” said Mr. Salgado. “When they go to Mexico, they enjoy all the rights granted to Mexican citizens: They can work without a permit, they can stay in the country without a time limit, . . . and they can acquire properties in areas restricted to foreigners, such as the coastlines, or near the border.”

Mexican citizens also enjoy free tuition in Mexico’s public universities, Mr. Salgado said.

The possession of American citizenship is not threatened by the reacquisition of Mexican citizenship, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.

The United States does not recognize dual citizenship of American citizens, “but that doesn’t prohibit other countries from according citizenship to persons from the United States,” spokesman Chris Bentley said. “That’s between the individuals and those countries.”