The underlying rationale is perhaps best illustrated by a quote from Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.
…I’ve never ceased to be Mexican. I have two passports, and I vote in elections in both countries. I’m deeply proud of this privileged duality. The best thing about America is its embrace of diversity. The worst thing about America, of course, is the racist and xenophobic attitudes that tend to emerge now and then….That’s from his column 30 Years As An American [JorgeRamos.com, January 2, 2013].
And that’s funny because when Ramos took the U.S. naturalization oath, he had to say
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen…Ramos took this oath only seven years ago [Univision’s Jorge Ramos a powerful voice on immigration, by Meg James, Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2013].
Nevertheless, Ramos has no problem publicly boasting about bearing two passports and voting in elections in both the U.S. and Mexico. And of course he’s not the only one.
Potentially, there are millions of Mexican-Americans who could, if they wanted to, be voting in both countries. The Mexican government is aware of this, and willing to use it to its own advantage.
In 1997, the Mexican Constitution was amended to make dual nationality possible. Previously, a Mexican who became a U.S. citizen automatically lost his Mexican nationality. The amendments offered a five-year period (1998 to 2003) in which Mexicans who had become American citizens could regain Mexican nationality at a Mexican consulate. Even American–born citizens with a Mexican parent could “regain” Mexican nationality. In 2003, this nationality recovery process was made permanent.
(Some may try to bamboozle you by differentiating between Mexican nationality and citizenship. But in Mexican law, nationality is the pre-condition for citizenship, which is simply the exercise of voting and other rights. For all practical purposes, Mexican nationality and citizenship are the same.)
A source in the Mexican government told El Universal in 2003 that the intention of the legal change was to prevent Mexicans living in the United States from losing their Mexican nationality if they became American citizens, so that “those who opt for a non-Mexican nationality can fully express their rights in their place of residence.” In other words, it was so they can vote in both countries. [Peligra nacionalidad de 3 millones de mexicanos, El Universal, February 6, 2003]
For years, Mexican government officials have debated about the right of Mexicans in the United States to vote in Mexican elections. Probably the reason the Mexican government has not promoted it more, or made it easier already, is because Mexicans residing in the United States might vote against whichever party is currently ruling from Mexico City. Also, many Mexicans in the United States don’t care much about voting in either country.
Of course, that could change if they were mobilized by something like the hysteria over Trump. And perhaps knowing this, the Mexican government is now taking new action to make it easier for them to vote.
(The president of the INE, by the way, is Euro-Mexican Lorenzo Cordova who is still in office despite the release of a telephone conversation in which he ridiculed an indigenous leader. That went public five months ago, but by now it’s blown over and Cordova is still in his position. Imagine something comparable occurring in the United States!)
What the INE has approved and announced is a new voter card specifically for Mexican voters who reside outside of Mexico. It is a modified version of the regular Mexican Voter ID card. (Mexico has a better, and stricter, system of voter registration than the United States).
You can see a sample of the proposed ID here . Note that it has the voter’s address as “4301 Old Main Street, Anytow [sic] Texas, United States”.
This new card is specifically marked “Para Voto desde el Extranjero” and has information in both Spanish and English. [Aprueba INE credencial para votar desde el extranjero(INE Approves Credential To Vote From Abroad), by Aurora Zepeda, Excelsior, October 14, 2015.
According to INE chief Cordova, quoted in Excelsior, the department’s 2016 budget includes funds for the issuance of 500,000 of these IDs. And Enrique Andrade, another member of the INE, says the process could begin by the end of the year, which means that in 2016 Mexicans in the U.S. could have them in their possession.
Interestingly, all four commenters in the comments section of the Excelsior article were not in agreement with this new development. Their objections:
If Mexicans in the United States (dual citizens or not) could vote, they could theoretically be very powerful. The INE calculates 26 million Mexicans reside in the United States. According to an INE poll 55% of them want the voter card. That may be an exaggeration, but the INE council unanimously voted to issue the new ID.
There is a growing willingness by Latino activists and the Mexican government to cultivate Mexican identity among those living in America—even those, like Ramos, who are nominally “Americans.” The drive to expand voting in Mexican elections is another step in this process. And as the immigration issue becomes ever more salient, thanks to Donald Trump, we can expect Mexico’s vast consular network to increase its meddling.
If Mexico expands its influence over its colonies in the United States, it means we are losing our sovereignty.
And contra Jorge Ramos, real Americans don’t have a “dual identity.”
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. in 2008 after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here ; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.