On Thursday, the Mexican government began issuing birth certificates to its citizens at its 50 U.S.-based consulates, a move that will make it easier for illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and work permits and to stay in the U.S. under President Obama’s executive amnesty decision.
In the past, Mexican citizens had to obtain their birth certificates from offices in Mexico. Individuals would often have relatives and friends obtain the documents and send them into the U.S.
But with the Mexican government’s help, its U.S.-based citizens will receive documents more quickly, which will help them apply for amnesty under Obama’s plan, which is expected to provide relief from deportation to approximately five million illegal immigrants.
According to the Associated Press, roughly half of the 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. are from Mexico. Of those, up to three million could be eligible for relief under Obama’s amnesty effort.
“It is a huge help. It helps individuals really begin to formulate their formal identity in this country,” said Angelica Salas, the executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles told The Associated Press.
The move comes as Republicans in Congress are trying to strip funding in the Department of Homeland Security budget for Obama’s amnesty initiative.
Jessica Vaughan, policy director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group which advocates for limited immigration, believes that the Mexican government is more than happy to issue birth certificates to its U.S.-based citizens because it will allow them to send money more back across the border to their families.
According to the AP, Mexican nationals sent $21.6 billion back to their families in Mexico in 2013.