Facilitating Dual Nationality, Preventing Statelessness, and Promoting Inclusion for Foreign-Born Children and their Families in the State of Tlaxcala
The State of Tlaxcala commits to ensure effective access to the right to identify for individuals born abroad through the elimination of the requirement to present an apostilled foreign birth certificate in order to obtain dual nationality.
With this policy, the State offers a structural solution that allows effective access to the right to identity for individuals born abroad, which in turn secures access to other fundamental rights such as health, education, work, and housing. It guarantees protection of foreign-born children and also provides an opportunity for returning and deported families to integrate into their communities.
This action represents an effective implementation of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (Article 30) which directly grants Mexican nationality to individuals born abroad whose parents were born in Mexican territory or acquired it through naturalization. However, federal entities often impose requirements through their secondary regulations that exceed those required by the Constitution.
This policy now reaffirms the constitutionality of the actions of local governments in civil registry matters and upholds the rights outlined in the Political Constitution of the Free and Sovereign State of Tlaxcala and the Law of the Rights of Girls, Boys, and Adolescents of the State.
This policy represents a structural change as it is not an agreement with an end date, nor a temporary measure, thus it does not depend on the good will of the authority in office. By eliminating this provision, as part of the changes included in the new Internal Regulations of the Coordination of the Civil Registry for the State of Tlaxcala, its application is mandatory for Civil Registry officials, during this and the following administrations.
A public policy with a human rights based approach, which puts an end to "legal non-existence", makes particularly visible the sons and daughters of migrant families who return to the state voluntarily or forcibly, who will now be able to exercise their constitutional rights as Mexican citizens, by having the birth certificate and the certificate that accredits their Mexican nationality.
The application of basic human rights principles such as the principle of pro persona and non-discrimination, that of conventionality (reaching the highest standards of human rights protection) and the best interest of the child have been critical to the success of this policy. Likewise, for the first time in the history of Mexico as a sovereign country, a local government (Tlaxcala) will guarantee the rights to identity and nationality for the migrant population.
Several lessons learned have been positive:
- The government needs to think and act according to the following principle: the person should be more important than the administrative requirements. The right to identity that marks the beginning of the legal life of a person should also be more relevant than the absolute compliance with documentary requirements, and priority should be given to the right to nationality over procedural formalisms. Similarly, the primacy, respect and guarantee of the right to identity should inform the requirement of the apostille, which usually becomes an impossible obstacle to overcome.
- The state cannot place the burden of proof of birth onto a migrant who is in a vulnerable situation and who does not have access to the necessary and adequate means to satisfy the requirement of the apostille. Regardless of whether the state has or does have the means to verify the necessary information for the registration of a citizen and the issuance of the corresponding birth certificate, it should bear the burden of proof. Only this way can justice be achieved and constitutional principles such as the pro person principle in favor of the applicant can be respected.
- When the legal provisions are not sufficient to satisfy the necessary requirements to grant nationality to a person in a situation of statelessness according to the Constitution, such legal provisions must be amended to respect the right of the applicant.
- It is important to work with civil society actors who collect important information directly from the population they accompany and who know about the applicable institutional procedures.
Some others have been negative:
- The adoption of new legislation and mechanisms related to registry rights in favor of the migrant population, inexplicable resistance is encountered by local authorities who review such provisions.