McALLEN, RGV – Last Friday, August 15th, marked two years since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) entered into force.
Since then, the Embassy of Mexico and the network of 50 consulates in the United States have engaged in an effort to take care of the essential needs of young Mexicans who meet the requirements to apply for this program.
When DACA was announced, the Mexican Government deployed ongoing outreach and legal assistance campaigns that have helped 427,653 Mexicans benefit from the program, turning Mexico into the country of origin with the highest percentage of citizens benefitting from DACA and with the highest acceptance rate.
Consular activities have included informative and legal assistance sessions; timely and thoughtful response to the volume and particularities of documentation requirements; as well as, strengthening the relationships with civil society organizations and US authorities. Mexico has used social media and new technologies to inform and empower the Mexican community. One example of those tools is the free consular services app “MiConsulmex”.
From the beginning of DACA through this past July, the consular network had organized more than four thousand activities including information sessions, workshops, legal clinics and education fairs. Furthermore, it scheduled additional workdays to provide support services to dreamers who needed to obtain their passports or consular ID cards.
In these two years, the consular network has offered information to more than 300,000 young Mexicans and has individually helped 56,000 obtain the identity documentation necessary to apply for DACA.
The shared effort with national, regional and local groups of dreamers, organizations that provide legal services, as well as with other members of the Mexican community abroad, has facilitated the development of strong ties between the consular network and Mexican youth in the United States, which has helped to constantly renew our consular efforts and reproduce best practices that would maximize the extension of benefits to the Mexican community abroad.
This work has also fostered greater outreach to youth by the Mexican Government. This has resulted in strengthening new leadership, as well as the ties between young Mexicans in the United States and their home country. It has also generated collaboration models which benefit the community.
According to the survey “In Their Own Words: A Nationwide Survey of Undocumented Millennials”, 70% of DACA recipients found or changed jobs. The participation of these young people in the labor market has boosted their contributions to the development of their communities of residence. At the same time, 51% of them have increased their earnings, helping them provide for their families.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry (SRE), the Embassy in the United States and the consular network, reaffirm their commitment to support young Mexicans who have already benefitted from this program and are currently undergoing the renovation process. Moreover, it will also continue to inform possible beneficiaries who have not yet applied.
Erasmo Martínez Martínez is Mexico’s consul in McAllen, Texas.