Mexico City Legal Clinic Debunks Myths For Binational Families

“Lots of times parents who have been undocumented in the United States are so afraid.”

By Joy DiazApril 24, 2018 11:13 am

It’s a common myth that the majority of people coming to the U.S. from Mexico are men – but in fact, women have been migrating to the United States at the same rate as men since the 1960s, when that information started being recorded.

The experience of women migrants is, of course, different from that of men. They may bring their children, or give birth to children in the U.S. As we have seen, they may return to Mexico, too, which can create a different set of complications for families.

Gretchen Kuhner says immigrants need legal advice on both sides of the border, so she co-founded a binational legal clinic called the Institute for Women in Migration. At the clinic, women have access to accurate information about their rights and their children’s rights.

“We work with women who have been deported from the United States, and so we work a lot on family separation cases, parents who after deportation and return want to bring their young children maybe back from the U.S. to Mexico,” Kuhner says. “Or perhaps their older children are in the United States and they want to make sure that somebody has custody of them so that they can remain in the U.S.”

The clinic assists clients with acquiring dual nationality and registering for school. Kuhner says many families don’t realize that they’re eligible for health and education services in Mexico.

“For someone who was born in Mexico and is going back to Mexico, you have of course absolutely all of the rights,” she says. “For a U.S. citizen going to Mexico with a Mexican parent, lots of times it’s just an issue of trying to get the right documentation.”

She says that, after being deported, immigrants can have a great deal of anxiety about the United States.

“Lots of times parents who have been undocumented in the United States are so afraid,” Kuhner says. “They’re afraid that they’ve done something wrong. They’re afraid that they can’t bring their children back to Mexico because they think that since they were born in the U.S., if they take them back to Mexico, they’ll lose their American nationality, which is not the case at all.”

Some parents, she says, are afraid to take their children to the U.S. Embassy to get a U.S. passport.

“The parents think that if they go into the U.S. Embassy, that they could be arrested or detained, even though they’re back in Mexico,” she says.

Para mayores informes, haga click aquí.

Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración, AC (IMUMI)
Tel. (52 55) 5211.4153 y 5658.7384
Tel. Clínica Jurídica. (52 55) 9131.7512 y 9154.8990
Tel. EUA (208) 753.7041
Facebook: IMUMI, AC
Twitter: @imumidf
Vimeo/Youtube: IMUMI, AC


Written by Jen Rice.