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Immigrants Can Get Mexican Birth Certificates in U.S.

U.S. Customs screen citizens crossing into Arizona from Mexico  John Moore / Getty Images file
File photo of Officer Juan Osorio inspects the identifications of a Mexican citizen at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing on December 10, 2010 in Nogales, Arizona. John Moore / Getty Images

Starting Thursday, Mexico's 50 consulates in the U.S. will be able to issue birth certificates to Mexican citizens. The move will make it easier for Mexican immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, passports, work permits and protection from deportation under President Obama's upcoming executive action.

"It helps individuals really begin to formulate their formal identity in this country," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. Prior to this change some immigrants in the U.S. relied on relatives in Mexico to get their birth certificates, which was a longer and more difficult process.

About half of the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico, and experts believe about 3 million could be eligible for executive action under Obama's plan.

Mexican consulates will be able to access data from regional governments. Some rural villages where documents are not digitally recorded may not be covered, but consulates should be able to issue birth certificates for nearly all birthplaces.

Jessica Vaughan, policy director at the Center for Immigration Studies which advocates for tighter limits on immigration, said it is important that the U.S. communicate with Mexico to ensure the system is established effectively and with integrity.


--Associated Press