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Mexico’s glass house: How the Mexican constitution treats foreign residents, workers and naturalized citizens

By Michael Waller

Every country has the right – and duty – to restrict the quality and quantity of foreign immigrants entering or living within its borders. If American policymakers are looking for legal models on which to base new laws restricting immigration and expelling foreign lawbreakers, they have a handy guide: the Mexican constitution.

Adopted in 1917, the constitution of the United Mexican States borrows heavily from American constitutional and legal principles. It combines those principles with a strong sense nationalism, cultural self-identity, paternalism, and state power. Mexico’s constitution contains many provisions to protect the country from foreigners, including foreigners legally resident in the country and even foreign-born people who have become naturalized Mexican citizens.

The Mexican constitution segregates immigrants and naturalized citizens from native-born citizens by denying immigrants basic human rights that Mexican immigrants enjoy in the United States. By making increasing demands that the U.S. not enforce its immigration laws and, indeed, that it liberalize them, Mexico is throwing stones within its own glass house.

This paper, the first of a short series on Mexican immigration double standards, examines the Mexican constitution’s protections against immigrants, and concludes with some questions about U.S. policy.

In brief, the Mexican Constitution states that:

Immigrants and foreign visitors are banned from public political discourse.
Immigrants and foreigners are denied certain basic property rights.
Immigrants are denied equal employment rights.
Immigrants and naturalized citizens will never be treated as real Mexican citizens.
Immigrants and naturalized citizens are not to be trusted in public service.
Immigrants and naturalized citizens may never become members of the clergy.
Private citizens may make citizens arrests of lawbreakers (i.e., illegal immigrants) and hand them to the authorities.
Immigrants may be expelled from Mexico for any reason and without due process.

Read the Rest @ Mexico’s Glass House

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