“Fake news” that children born in the U.S. to illegal aliens from Mexico would be separated from their families if their parents are deported appears to be driving their parents to register them as dual citizens, according to a representative with the Mexican Consulate of San Francisco.
“For some reason, parents think that if they don’t formally register their kids, they can’t take them with them to Mexico,” San Francisco Mexican Consulate’s Consul of documentation Jesús Gutiérrez told the San Jose Mercury News. Gutiérrez called the concern unfounded.
San Jose’s Mexican consulate processed 86 dual citizenship applications in February — double the number seen in January, according to the report. Just ten days into March, that consulate had processed 30. The trend does not appear to be letting up, with the offices planning to manage solid bookings by adding a shift on Saturday, March 18.
A similar trend is reportedly occurring at the San Francisco consulate, where February applications were up 42 percent from January, for a total 94. The rate at that location also appears to be continuing, with 28 registrations in the first nine days of March, according to the Mercury News. Gutiérrez told the outlet that the location plans to add a staff member to keep up with demand.
Though some parents are registering their children at Mexican consulates, several in San Jose told the local news outlet that they had no immediate plans to leave the U.S. of their own accord.
Mexican consulates have encouraged Mexican nationals illegally in the U.S. with children born in America to register their children, according to the report. Stanford sociologist Tomás Jiménez told the outlet that Mexico has encouraged their citizens to gain dual U.S. citizenship in order to advocate for Mexico. Mexico has provided such dual citizenship since 1998.
Fear of being separated from children may be partially driven by reaction to real news events, such as the Department of Homeland Security’s recent announcement that it might consider separating illegal alien children from adults when they cross the border into the United States illegally. Department of Homeland Security John Kelly described the measure as a way to prevent the exploitation and endangerment of children, since illegal aliens know that they are less likely to be deported upon arrival if they are traveling with minors.
Democrats also frequently hype fears of families being separated in arguing against immigration law enforcement.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana