Mexican ambassador urges immigrants to apply for US citizenship

Mexican ambassador urges immigrants to apply for US citizenship

The Mexican ambassador to the United States is urging more Mexican citizens living abroad to apply for U.S. citizenship, ahead of President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpAvenatti ‘still considering’ presidential run despite domestic violence arrest Mulvaney positioning himself to be Commerce Secretary: report Kasich: Wouldn’t want presidential run to ‘diminish my voice’ MORE's administration.

Ambassador Carlos Sada Solana told Mexican state news agency Notimex Tuesday that applying for citizenship could be an important defense against deportation and other actions if Trump changes U.S. immigration policies.

"It's one of the very important protection actions to become citizens, because then they're no longer subject to deportation processes and on the other hand, they don't lose Mexican citizenship," he told Notimex.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sada said the problem was that many immigrants with legal status and eligibility for citizenship choose not to apply. The top reasons he cited were not considering U.S. citizenship important or necessary, plans to leave the U.S., not speaking English and a lack of information about the process.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there are around 2.6 million Mexican lawful permanent residents (LPR) in the United States who are eligible for citizenship, but who haven't yet applied.

Sada said Mexican consulates will expand their service hours to better provide information and assistance to their citizens amid concerns about how citizenship policies may change after Jan. 20.

“The best we can do is inform ourselves and be conscious about our situation, and to know that in the consulates we have personnel that is dedicated specifically to the subject of protection," he said.

Mexico maintains the largest consular network of any country in any other, with 50 consulates in the United States.

Mexican immigrants are less likely to naturalize than citizens of other countries, but still account for the greatest number of citizenship applications. In 2015, Mexicans accounted for 14.5 percent of all naturalizations — 105,958 in total — compared to second-ranking India, whose 42,213 naturalizations accounted for 5.8 percent of the national total.

To be eligible for citizenship, lawful permanent residents must be over 18, have resided permanently in the country and meet certain personal qualifications, like being of good moral character, having knowledge of U.S. history and speaking English.