A longtime struggle for many Mexican citizens living in the United States is the inability to access their birth records. Some may have been born in a state where they no longer have contacts and they struggle to acquire their birth certificate. In practice, this can definitely be a significant hurdle that our clientele faces. As of today, the Mexican government plans to make the process of acquiring a birth certificate much easier. All 50 consulates of Mexico in the United States will begin issuing certified copies of those essential documents.
This announcement and change in policy comes at a critical juncture for millions of Mexican citizens living in the United States that may be eligible for Deferred Action for Parents or Childhood Arrivals (DAPA/DACA). As part of the process in applying for the DAPA/DACA benefit, applicants will need to provide evidence of who they are. Having a birth certificate, passport or some form of government issued identification will be essential in getting an approval from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
By providing birth certificates at the consulate, the Mexican government will hopefully make the process less of a struggle. We at AILA applaud the Mexican government for making this important change to their policy on birth certificate issuance!
Don’t forget that the roll-out of DACA and DAPA is planned sometime in the coming months. If you intend to file for either DACA or DAPA, you can take the following steps to prepare:
- Have proof of who you are (see above).
- Collect documentation proving that you have been in the United States and continuously resided since before January 1, 2010.
- For DAPA applicants proof that you are a parent of a permanent resident or U.S. citizen born on or before November 20, 2014.
- Proof that the applicant was physically present in the United States on November 20, 2014.
- Save your money. The filing fee is expected to be $465 or possibly more for DAPA. We are still awaiting more guidance regarding the fees.
- Collect any criminal records that you may have including arrest records or court dispositions. If you are uncertain about whether a record exists you should get an FBI background check.
- If you have any derogatory immigration history or criminal record it is highly recommended that you meet with a qualified attorney to analyze your situation.
- Do not fall victim to fraud! Make sure you get information or legal advice from someone you know and trust.
Written by Mo Goldman, Chair, AILA Media Advocacy Committee