Given the political climate around this year’s election, some people claim they’ll move to Canada, others to Europe. But the truth is that once the election turmoil settles, most people stay put.
Yet millions of Americans could – if they wanted to – make a fine life for themselves elsewhere, with a little passport help.
Imagine a person – any person. Now, imagine this person can work legally in more than one country. This person is also part of more than one country’s social and cultural tapestry, traveling freely in and out of those countries’ borders.
“That’s what happens when you have dual nationality,” says Carlos González Gutiérrez, consul general of Mexico. He lives in Austin and says dual citizens have full rights in two countries.
In a country as diverse as the United States and in a state as diverse as Texas, there’s a potential for millions of people to become dual citizens.
“There are approximately 20 million U.S. citizens – children of Mexican immigrants – who now would have the right to come to a Mexican consulate and apply for a Mexican passport,”González Gutiérrez says. “It’s a significant population.”
It could sway an election in either country.
Other than Mexico, 46 countries allow dual citizenship. Ireland is one of them. Adrian Farrell is the General Consul of Ireland in Texas. He says right now, if everyone who had a claim to Irish citizenship became a dual citizen, there would be more Irish abroad than in Ireland.
“We have a minister in Ireland who is responsible for the Irish communities abroad. We are a very small population – comparatively,” he says, laughing. “Globally we have a population of 4.6 or 4.7 million – a fast growing population. But there’s something like 70 or 80 million Irish-Americans, Irish-Mexicans, Irish-Texans… who are part of our Irish family, our Irish diaspora. We love to engage with them, we love to celebrate their success and work with them as well.”
But can a dual citizen fully love more than one nation? Anjanette Gautier thinks so. “I am bicultural – I am half German and half Mexican – but I grew up in Mexico,” Gautier says, “so I missed a lot of that German background. So I wanted my daughters to have both.”
Gautier’s daughters were born in Texas but from the day they were born, she got them their two passports: One from the U.S. and the other from Mexico.
“To me – being Mexican American doesn’t mean to be excluded – it means being able to be flexible in your culture to choose the best of what you want,” Gautier says. “I know that eventually, they will choose. They might stay their whole lives here in the United States or they might go to Mexico and live there for a while or go to college there… but I want them to have every option.”