Mexican Citizenship Comments

Discussion in 'Living in Cancun' started by Jim in Cancun, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. Jim in Cancun

    Jim in Cancun Guest

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    There have been some questions, comments, complaints and concerns regarding getting Mexican citizenship. This is not intended to answer any of those specifically but to give me a chance to pass along the quite recent experience of a friend of mine. Following is the text of emails I have received from my friend about the process--new and old--with all of the vicissitudes involved. All identifying information has been removed. For those who are not familiar with either Mexico or the process it may be confusing but for those of us who have gone through or are going through it, or thinking about it, it will make sense. The person's experience with the tongue and pen make it all the more interesting!
    My comments and changes to the original text are in parenthesis.
    "Finally, I'm Mexican

    After months and months of waiting, weekly
    communication with SRE in the D.F. which could be
    considered harassment on both ends, I now have my
    Mexican citizenship. Never mind that it was
    signed more than half a year ago. I guess it just
    takes that long for the ink to dry. Had it been
    delivered relatively soon after it had been
    signed, I would not have had to undergo The Test.
    But the new interpretations of the law spelled a new hurdle. Bring it on.
    This Tuesday last past:

    I was one of those who had to take The Test. I
    actually studied for it. Well, for the entire
    night last past. I kept telling myself that they
    really wouldn't ask me to expound upon how the
    Castañeda Doctrine departed from the Estrada
    Doctrine, even if that was far more interesting
    than rote memorization. So I memorized the names
    of all the cabinet members of the current and
    last administrations, as if those questions would
    really be asked. I memorized the full name of
    every ex-president backwards from Vicente Fox
    Quesada. And the Constitution. Ask me about
    Article 82(III). And memorized ten stanzas of the
    Himno Nacional. I had to keep reminding myself
    that after all I was a ( the friend's profession) who'd passed (professional)
    exams and that the test would be something that
    the average Guatemalan who hadn't finished 6th
    grade could pass. This wasn't exactly going to be
    the College Bowl or even Jeopardy, but I was as
    prepared as Joyce Brothers was for the topic of
    boxing on The $64,000 Question. But what if they
    wanted to know Guadalupe Victoria's birth name?
    They didn't ask me about the ex-presidents or the
    Constitution. Damn. I felt like a Latka Gravas
    character who had all of this extra, unnecessary
    command of facts. They did ask me to name three
    Mexican writers, so just for good measure, I
    supplied the names of as many as the page would
    hold. You just never know when extra credit might
    come in handy. There was the constant fear that
    I'd be like the Dean of Stanford Law School who
    went and flunked the Florida bar. Or something
    like that. I could not risk the humiliation.

    Actually, the test was more like hazing, although
    I didn't know it when I went in. When I
    approached the desk, the clerk knew why I was
    there. I handed over my migratory document, she
    cancelled it, and she pulled my naturalization
    letter out of the file. It sat there in front of
    me while I took the test. I don't know what
    would've happened if I'd flunked the test. Maybe
    they would bring out another test. Maybe they'd
    just tell me the answers. But all I knew going
    in, since the test requirement only went into
    practice last month -- and I was the first in the
    state to take it -- was that I'd damn better well
    pass it on the first try. I wasn't about to let them get the upper hand.

    My carta de naturalizacion in hand, I returned
    home and one friend after another called to see
    how I did. The first could not name the jefe de
    gobierno of the D.F. Duh. Doesn't anyone read the
    newspaper or even turn on the T.V.? The second
    volunteered that Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a
    Mexican writer. Doesn't Colombia ring a bell? The
    third could not name one -- much less three -- of
    the Niños Héroes. No one could get through the
    first stanza of the Himno Nacional. And these
    were educated people. I just have no respect for
    anyone who didn't have to take The Test. Well, at
    least I can beat them at Trivial Pursuit now. (Following out of sequence but placed here for clarity.) Just reading the newspaper on a regular basis provided most of the information needed. But so many foreigners wouldn't think of reading the paper."

    (After asking some questions and making some comments to the first email, I received the following:)

    "The *old* interpretation held that only FM-2 years counted toward residency, but there was a window when FM-3 years counted. You (me--jimincancun) were part of that window. The testing requirement had always been part of the law, but it had been relaxed for years. After Zhenli Ye Gon got his Mexican citizenship in record time, along with a record numbers during the Fox Admin., SRE went back to the old interpretations back in December. Since I had an FM-2, I qualified anyway. But I was the first to be tested in (State of residence), and they sort of made up the test on the fly.

    Yeah, now I do feel superior to everybody! Particularly the weenies who didn't have to take The Test.

    By the time I was done, the downstairs passport office was out of solicitude forms for the day, so I had to go back. Now you stand in line to get the Sacred Solicitude, and then they give you an appointment to return. My appointment is tomorrow, but I'm sending over my gardener to get in line at 7 a.m., and I'll go over there around 9:30 a.m. Yeah, like those Mexicans who have the help stand in line for them."

    (After asking more questions and asking for and receiving permission to pass along this information to my friends on, I received the following:)

    "OK -- as long as you remove all identifying data and do not mention (the State of residence). Or any state for that matter.

    And let me know the link when you've posted something.

    I know this sounds hardcore, but this morning as I drove down to pick up my passport, I kept thinking about how I don't have any respect for those who got citizenship during that window for FM-3s and who didn't take The Test. --All right, you're an exception, but you lived here for a hundred years before applying.-- After all these naturalized citizens will have the right to vote, which means that they should have to prove some knowledge. (out of sequence for clarity) It's the same with the 9 out of 10 in the US or anyplace else. But at least they had the benefit of getting citizenship by birth, so they didn't have to prove anything. And saying "9 out of 10 Mexicans on the street wouldn't know the answers" doesn't cut it. The US makes poor, dumb foreigners, many of whom have far less education and money than the average foreigner living in Mexico, take a much harder test to gain citizenship."

    I'm also pissed off about these gringos who were working illegally, getting their citizenship, who keep blathering about AMLO -- and who could not even name the jefe de gobierno in the D.F. Hello? And several of them are still blithely driving their US-plated cars around, seeming to think that's OK. (for clarity) The breed seems to be getting worse and worse. Lots of people have worked under the table for years, but broadcasting an under-the-table business online is a different story. Just too brazen."

    (Another exchange of emails and then this:)
    "I just looked at your old e-mail from when you (me--jimincancun)got your citizenship.
    You paid a lawyer $2,500 USD? (Yes, I did.)

    I did my own legal work. The fees to SRE came to about $300 USD.

    Except for those who applied under the category of being married to a
    Mexican, everyone else I know used a lawyer."

    (Some comments of mine about the process and then:)
    I've seen too many lawyers screw up simple tasks. Sure, I've screwed
    up a few myself, and even when I've (helped) other people, but I'd
    rather not pay for the privilege of letting lawyers mess up my stuff.

    In August, I took a Mexican friend with me to SRE, just to keep
    myself on my good behavior. She later said that she was surprised
    that I was so nice and polite to the staff when she would've ripped
    them a new one."

    (another exchange:)
    "My response to the foreigners who question *why* (they do things a certain way in Mexico) is that they're wasting their time trying to find a reason and argue with the way it's done. The one thing I learned..... is that the clerks in rural courthouses have their own set of rules and their own law, and they run the place. It's futile to debate them. If they want something signed in blue ink and blue ink only, you're better off whipping out a pen that writes in blue.

    All along I'd knew I'd need an FM-2, because the window for naturalization via an FM-3 hadn't opened by the time I was eligible for an FM-2. I knew that at least I'd be on the road to accomplishing something with inmigrado status, and I'd figured that I'd be inmigrado before I'd be eligible for citizenship anyway. As it turned out, the latest point for me to apply for inmigrado would've been the end of February of this year, which was 6 months after the expiration of my FM-2."

    (Hope this helps someone--and if not, it is at the very least, interesting reading!) IMHO
  2. Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Guest

    +0 / 0
    Thanks for posting. Yes, you're right, it is interesting.
  3. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    I find this very interesting. And I agree with his point that if you are going to be granted the right to vote in Mexico that you ought to know what's going on and have knowledge of this country's history and political situation.

    Personally I am not someone who does well with memorization. I did very well in history classes that were deep, where the reasons why some event took place were more important than the specific date. To me rote information is what Wikipedia is for, if I need to know I look it up, and then I forget it later (usually). So for me a test like that would be very hard, I simply don't remember dates and names out of context.

    I think it's important to pay attention to why people emigrate to Mexico. Some people come here with a high regard for and an interest in this country. Others come to escape some bad situation back home, a divorce, a legal problem, a stalker, whatever. For those who come here to escape I think it's easy to understand that they will be slow to "get it", that they won't necessarily care about what's really going on here.

    Also when you come to Mexico because your spouse is Mexican it doesn't mean you really love or are interested in Mexico. It hopefully does mean you are interested in making your spouse happy. I don't think that I should have to be deeply interested in Mexico in order to be granted the right to work and live here, it should be enough that I married a Mexican man.

    Conversely when we move back to the U.S. I don't think my husband should have to take the test to become a citizen. He's putting up with me and all my American quirks, he should be given citizenship just for being married to me.

    Now I know I'll catch grief for my thinking. But look at it this way. If you are born you cannot control where your mother is when she has you. Therefore you cannot control the nationality you are born with.

    Similarly we cannot control who we fall in love with (at least I have never had any success with this). When I fell for my husband I barely noticed that he was a different nationality than I was, and we were sleeping together for 6 months before I actually noticed that our skin was such different colors. I fell for the man, not the nationality, not the skin, not some qualification.

    So if I love a man who has a different nationality than I do then at any moment at least ONE of us has to fight the battle with immigration and/or citizenship. It just doesn't seem fair. The headache, expense, and worry over immigration has been a strain on our marriage from the beginning. Is this fair? No. I accept it as our reality, and I can deal with it. But I do think that if your emigration to a country is based on marriage that there should be fast tracks and special privilege.

    Ok, now you can all start yelling at me.
  4. Jim in Cancun

    Jim in Cancun Guest

    +0 / 0
    No yelling from here!! What you say makes perfect sense to me. I also agree about the fast track--especially if children are or will be involved BUT making it too "easy" would foster the "instant marriage mills" too--like the lady they just caught in Florida who had married 10 guys (and not divoced any of them) so that they could get U.S. citizenship. I guess there are always people who will abuse things and therefore make it rough for the rest.

    I used to live in Texas and that was big there too until they cracked down. Not sure what everyone else's experience here is but I have heard that being married to a Mexican national sometimes makes it even harder to do some things. Maybe it depends on your sex (nature of--not quantiy of!!) since the Mexican Constitution (if I remember right) is a bit sexist and specifies easier terms for a woman marrying a Mexican citizen. (I wonder how that is interpreted now since DF permits people of the same sex to marry!!)
  5. RiverGirl

    RiverGirl Guest

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    I think the main thing that is dumb to me is that in Mexico being married to a Mexican doesn't automatically give you anything similar to Permanent Residency.

    In the States my husband's permanent residency gives him permission to work anywhere for anyone. Here to get the same privilege I have to have an FM2 for 5 years first! That's just dumb. Of course it's not hard to get permission to work here, but it's not simple either.

    To me this drastically cuts back on the positive contributions that immigrants can make here.

    Without trying to I can name 20 immigrants in the US who got their citizenship through a fake marriage. It's a big business there. And I don't condone that at all.

    I don't mind if they want to make sure the marriage is real, come interview us in our home, and make us show you love letters and photos of us in Novedades when we went to some fundraiser, and ask our neighbors how often they see us together.

    The other thing about this new Citizenship thing is that a lot of people planned to jump form an FM3 to Citizenship. And people planned this because that's what INM told them to do it that way. So now to change the ruling and require an FM2 pulls the rug out from under a lot of people. That really stinks. They should grandfather people in somehow.
  6. Jim in Cancun

    Jim in Cancun Guest

    +0 / 0
    One point you mention made me think--years ago I lived in Paris for a while. At least at the time, the policy was that they accepted immigrants BUT they could not work for the first 5 years!!!!!!

    Talk about not contributing!! It actually encouraged people to enter and do something illegal!

    Some other comments from my friend:

    " 'Some have' confused permanent residency, permission to work and citizenship. Each is a different concept. The privilege of working as foreigner -- whether in the US or in Mexico -- doesn't hinge upon marital status. Until permanent residency is granted, there is the matter of not displacing a national of either country.

    Those who are married to foreigners are eligible for permanent residency in Mexico as well as the US, and that's an entirely different matter from citizenship. Just being married doesn't make someone an informed voter. If someone's going to ask for the privilege of being treated as a citizen, which includes the right to vote, then it's only natural that they should be expected to demonstrate knowledge about the country. If it means knowing the words to the Himno Nacional, it means just that -- and not talking about what the Himno Nacional might mean. It's one of the three symbols of the country. (Anyone up for identifying what the other two symbols are?) Marriage only doesn't make anyone an informed voter."
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