The Mexican consulate in St. Paul has seen a more than 100 percent spike in applications for dual citizenship since the Trump administration announced its first travel ban in January, driven largely by unauthorized Mexican immigrants preparing to take their American children with them if they're deported.
"Parents are just like, if we're going to be deported, we're going back to Mexico [with] the whole family, so we have to have all our documents ready," said Consul general Gerardo Guerrero.
In addition to birth certificates for their American-born children, Mexican citizens are also requesting passports and consular IDs. Guerrero said the office has seen a 30 to 40 percent increase overall in visitors since the travel ban issuance. Daily visitors now average between 130 and 150 people.
"People are scared and want to be prepare in case something happens in the future," he said.
The uptick in visitors service has resulted in extended weekday hours and recently added once-a-month Saturday hours, solely for dual citizens' applications. The consulate used to issue five or six birth certificates a day, but last Saturday it honored 45 requests.
Children born abroad to Mexican nationals can get Mexican citizenship by obtaining a Mexican birth certificate, Guerrero said, making them eligible for a range of benefits. "In Mexico, for example, children have a right to receive free education from the state but you have to prove you are Mexican," he said.
The consulate's jurisdiction encompasses Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and western Wisconsin. It serves 200,000 people, 60,000 of whom are believed to be unauthorized, Guerrero said.
The Mexican government launched a program in January to aid in the acclimation of American-born newcomers to the country's educational and other systems. "We are prepared to receive all the kids that go back to Mexico," Guerrero said.