The government of Mexico is paying to help its citizens who are living illegally in the United States avoid deportation.
According to a report from National Public Radio, the Mexican government through its 50 consulates around the United States has been helping to fund low-income illegal immigrants to apply for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA — which shields illegal immigrants from deportation and allows them to work in the U.S.
NPR’s report details the story of Tania Guzman, an illegal immigrant who said the cost of applying for DACA worried her, but she was able to afford it after her pro-bono lawyer from Public Counsel told her she could access financial help from the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles.
Mexico paid for all Guzman’s attorney fees and application fees, according to NPR. In the end Guzman told NPR she paid just $50.
The report explains that since 2012, the year DACA began, the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles has assisted more then 260 Mexican illegal immigrants apply for protections under DACA.
Julian Escutia, an official with the Mexican Embassy in Washington, told NPR that it does not keep track of how many illegal immigrants’ DACA applications they fund, and that funding is “on a case-by case basis.”
“Our main objective is the well-being of our nationals wherever they are,” he said. “So what we want for them is that they are successful and really continue contributing to this country [the U.S.],” she told NPR.
Escutia added to NPR that the heated political debate surrounding the program is an issue for the U.S. to deal with.
“We are not entering into the political debate about DACA,” he said. “It’s one option that is available to our nationals, and if they choose to apply for it, we are certainly happy to help them.”
And while the practice may seem inappropriate, it is not illegal. As NPR reports, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official said it has “no way of knowing where any fees might have originated.”