by Allan Wall
How many dual U.S.-Mexican citizens live in Mexico? Estimates of ordinary Americans living in Mexico range from 125,000 (the number who’ve registered with embassies and consulates)to half a million, and the number of dual citizens is unknown, but may also be as high as half a million.
American citizenship is a desirable commodity in Mexican society. It’s not that all these would-be “Americans” are yearning to transform themselves or their children from being Mexicans. No, they want the benefits of American citizenship, as an ace in the hole for the future. In investment terms, they are diversifying their portfolios.
As a matter of fact, one of Mexico’s wealthiest men, Emilio Azcarraga, has considered taking out American citizenship so he could increase his ownership of Univision.
What’s American citizenship about, if not expanding your investment opportunities?
Believe you me, almost everybody in Mexico knows about our insane “anchor baby” policy. They know that any child born in U.S. territory, regardless of the legality of his parents, is an instant citizen. Thanks to that policy, there are plenty of people in Mexico who are dual citizens.
Several months ago I went to a U.S. consulate, and was served in the American Citizens Services section of the consulate. As its name indicates, this section is for American citizens. Nevertheless, it provides services in both English and Spanish–which means an American citizen need not even know English to be served there. (In fact, I’ve been told that on another occasion, an American citizen went there and nobody spoke English!)
And when I looked around the room in the American Citizens Services section, almost nobody looked like a typical American citizen who happened to reside in Mexico. Nearly everybody there resembled a Mexican who happened to be an American citizen.
While waiting, we chatted with a Mexican lady who was getting the citizenship paperwork for her adult son. This adult son is a natural- born American citizen because he was accidentally born on U.S. soil. She hadn’t even lived in the U.S.-she had just crossed the border to attend a party and went into labor, and presto-an American citizen was born!
There is a large and growing host of Mexicans who live in Mexico, identify as Mexicans, but just happen to be American citizens also.
Just imagine if somebody could energize the dual citizen vote in Mexico. Could it happen?
It may already be happening.
The pieces are all in place, after all. There are plenty of dual citizens here and no impediments to their voting. And there are activists who are already encouraging it.
Four years ago, I personally heard a revealing conversation on Mexican radio. A representative for the Kerry campaign was being interviewed. She specifically appealed to dual citizens of Mexico and the United States to vote for Kerry.
That was four years ago. Now, in 2008, there is even more of this going on.
Consider another simultaneous development. The Democratic Party recently instituted a new way for registered Democrats living abroad to vote in the party primary. It was called the Global Presidential Primary and was held from February 5th– February 12th. (The Republicans Abroad are not having a Global Primary like the Democrats and aren’t going to have delegates to specifically represent expatriate Americans. They will help an expatriate American vote by absentee ballot, but as a voter in his own state.)
There’s nothing new about Americans voting from another state or another country by absentee ballot. That’s how I vote.
But the Global Presidential Primary is different. In that program, expatriate Democrats voted, not as citizens of their home states (as with regular absentee ballots) but specifically as Democrats Abroad. Democrats living in foreign countries are choosing 22 delegates to represent expatriate Democrats at the convention this summer.
Needless to say, the 22-member Democrats Abroad delegation has to be chosen according to Affirmative Action principles. According to the Democrats Abroad website:
“Throughout the process, under the affirmative action plan, Democrats Abroad must make every effort possible to ensure not only general balance of the delegation but also to include representatives of Asian-Pacific Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans, as well as members of the LGBT Community and disabled persons and youth. Our goal for ethnic diversity amongst the complete delegation is four and our goal for representation from the LGBT Community is one.
They couldn’t leave “LGBT” out, now, could they?
Speaking as an expatriate American myself, I have to say this whole thing bothers me. Shouldn’t we expatriate Americans think of ourselves as U.S. citizens, of our home states, who happen to reside abroad, and not as people who define our political interests as “Americans Abroad”?
One of my fellow Americans residing in Mexico, Mags Petela, is a Democratic party activist, and editor of the Mexico Democrats Abroad newsletter. On Mexico Connect (a website for gringos in Mexico), Mags has an article promoting the Democratic Global Presidential Primary . Here’s part of what she said about it:
“Imagine yourself on February 5, so-called Super Tuesday, sitting on your Mexican patio, your laptop computer open and connected to the Internet. You press Enter on the keyboard, and your vote for the Democratic candidate for president of the United States is instantly, securely recorded with the Democratic Party. No es un sueño-it’s not a dream, it’s a reality. Between February 5 and 12, 2008, millions of U.S. citizens living in Mexico and more than 100 other nations will be able to vote in a historic, first-ever online Global Presidential Primary to choose the Democratic nominee for president. No computer? No problema! Voters can cast a primary ballot in person on February 5. Here in Mexico, voting centers will be set up in Ajijic, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. Can’t get there? Just send your ballot by mail or fax instead!…”
Notice how easy she makes it all sound! And it did go off as planned. But notice what else she exhorts her readers;
“Be sure to bring another eligible voter with you when you vote, and notify others…So we can maximize our voice as expats.”
“Maximize our voice as expats”? What is she talking about? We are Americans living abroad, not people who should be identifying ourselves as expatriates for political reasons!
Anyway, why is this necessary? Mags explains that
“It’s all part of a growing political trend and has been reported in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune: Americans living abroad are finally getting a voice.”
“Finally getting a voice?” What? We have always had a voice. We can vote by absentee ballot, through our state, as I have done for years.
Well, Mags explains why that’s just not good enough:
“But why should anyone living abroad vote in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary instead of their home states presidential primary? A vote in the Global Primary makes party candidates, leaders, and legislators sit up and take notice of the needs of Americans living abroad-needs that include gaining Medicare coverage in our foreign homes, tax equity for Americans working overseas, and simplified voting procedures.”
Yes, it’s all about making life easier for Americans abroad, isn’t it? Should that be our government’s number one priority?
But didn’t we voluntarily choose to live abroad?
And, get this, Mags also says that
“U.S. citizens in Mexico, including Mexican-Americans with dual nationality, can vote in the Democratic Global Primary if they meet these few simple criteria…” (which she goes on to list)
So here we have a Democratic activist living in Mexico encouraging the dual citizen vote. It couldn’t be plainer.
(Some people try to throw a curveball and make a distinction between Mexican nationality and citizenship, but that’s a red herring-read my explanation here. In Mexican law, nationality is the pre-condition for citizenship; citizenship refers to those of Mexican nationality who are 18 or over and in full exercise of their rights (including voting).
Now, do you suppose that our friend Mags is the only American in Mexico promoting dual citizenship voting?
She’s not. Here is a very prominent case: Ana Maria Salazar. Who is Ana Maria Salazar? She is an analyst, author, commentator, academic, CFR member and former U.S. government official. In the Clinton Administration she worked in Colombia for the State Department (95-97), then was in the White House as a policy advisor to the Special Envoy to the Americas (98) and then was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support. (See bios here, here and here ).
Nowadays though, she resides in Mexico where she plies her trade as a commentator and radio talk show host (in English). And she’s a big Democratic Party booster, in Mexico!
In the week preceding Super Tuesday, Ana Maria was discussing the U.S. election on her weblog. As part of the chat she received a message from Isabel Hudgins de Medina, who is a spokeswoman for Democrats Abroad in Mexico:
“Hi Ana Maria, as the spokeswoman for Democrats Abroad in Mazatlan, Mexican citizens who also have U.S. citizenship have asked me if there is much difference between the candidates in their positions on immigration. They say ‘There’s no point in voting if none of the candidates are interested in helping the immigrants in the United States.’ My answer has been, ‘That’s why it’s necessary to vote so that they pay attention to us and listen.” Is there anything else that you can add, in way of answer, to these attitudes of people with dual nationality?…”
So here we have another Democrats Abroad official promoting dual citizen voting-for the Democrats of course, and on the basis of immigration policy. Ana Maria Salazar answered with this statement:
“…I believe that it’s important that the Americans who live abroad or the Mexicans that have dual nationality should vote in these elections so that the candidates recognize the point of view representing people who live in Mexico and who understand and live the migratory issue with a very particular perspective. The more people who go out to vote, the more attention they will pay in seeking a humanitarian and viable solution for both countries.
Remember, Ana Maria Salazar is a prominent personality, a former U.S. government official. And she is openly encouraging dual citizen voting in order to bring pressure to bear for amnesty and other open border policies.
Maybe it’s just coincidence, but these three Democrats I’ve mentioned, who are trolling for dual citizen votes in Mexico, are women! Maybe they need a stern lecture from VDARE.COM’s Democrat Brenda Walker.
And the aforementioned example is not the only one. In a January 11th editorial in El Universal, Ana Maria Salazar wrote that
“…for the first time the Democrats who live outside of the U.S. can participate in the selection of their candidate. It’s possible that almost a million Americans live in Mexico, and with their participation and that of Mexicans who have dual nationality, they could have an interesting impact in defining who the Democratic candidate is. For those readers who have American citizenship and whose political tendencies are Democratic, check out http://www.mexicodemocrats.org/ to enroll and participate in the “Global Primary” the first week of February.”
Once again, she is openly encouraging dual citizen Mexicans to vote in a U.S. election.
The Global Primary is now history, although they haven’t announced who won. But what do you think will happen in the General Election? Do you suppose these Democratic activists, who already see the value of the dual citizen vote in Mexico, will forget about it?
No, I think this is only beginning. Leading up to the General Election, we can expect to see continued activism to get out the dual citizen vote for the Democrats!
As the Mexican Dual Citizen vote continues to be cultivated, it could turn out to be quite substantial. And you wouldn’t expect our government to do anything about it, would you?
Here’s something else I noticed, on another Mexico Gringo website: a notice about some meetings in Puerto Vallarta for American citizens. These meetings are being held by the U.S. Consulate, to inform expatriate Americans how to vote by absentee ballots. (In all the years I’ve lived in Mexico, I’ve never attended such a meeting. I found out myself how to obtain an absentee ballot, because I wanted to vote).
The ad is bilingual-which presumably means there are American citizens living in Mexico who don’t speak English.
And many of them will be voting-completely on the basis of immigration policy!
Think about that, this election season, as you contemplate the political panorama. Not only must you take into account all the voting blocs in the United States, you must not forget the dual citizen vote here in Mexico!
Some Democrat activists certainly aren’t!
American citizen Allan Wall ( email him) resides in Mexico, with a legal permit issued him by the Mexican government. Allan recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here his “Dispatches from Iraq” are archived here his website is here.