How Many People Have Been Kicked Out of the Country Because the Feds Made Up An Imaginary Provision of the Mexican Constitution?

Your holy-crap story of the day:

Sure, I'm allowed to do this. It's in the, uh, Mexican constitution.For more than two decades, Sigifredo Saldana Iracheta insisted he was a U.S. citizen, repeatedly explaining to immigration officials that he was born to an American father and a Mexican mother in a city just south of the Texas border.

Year after year, the federal government rejected his claims, deporting him at least four times and at one point detaining him for nearly two years as he sought permission to join his wife and three children in South Texas.

In rejecting Saldana's bid for citizenship, the government sought to apply an old law that cited Article 314 of the Mexican Constitution, which supposedly dealt with legitimizing out-of-wedlock births. But there was a problem: The Mexican Constitution has no such article.

The error appears to have originated in 1978, and it's been repeated ever since, frustrating an untold number of people who are legally entitled to U.S. citizenship but couldn't get it.

Apparently the Mexicans did not feel the need to fill their constitution with detailed discussions of family law. Fancy that. "It's unclear just how many cases have been affected by the error," the article notes. "The court's opinion [finally recognizing Saldana's citizenship] cited four in addition to the original one in 1978, and there are surely others. Immigration cases are not open to the public."

For the rest of the story -- which includes such choice quotes as "What this looks like is nobody's ever checked it out" and "you all have been citing this over and over again to people for years now, and you can't even look it up in Mexican law" -- go here.

[Via TechDirt.]

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  • JW||

    "Error." Uh-huh.

    Why couldn't they just use the 28th Amendment of the US Constitution? The language is very clear on the matter:

    "Fuck you. That's why."

  • Andrew S.||

    The government usually can't follow what's in our own laws. How do you expect the government to follow another country's laws?

  • pan fried wylie||

    They manage with timber easy enough.

  • Agammamon||

    Funnily enough, they fucked *that* one up too.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Ignorance of the non-existent law is no excuse!

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Even if the Mexican constitution HAD contained such a provision, I don't see how it would have changed the fact that as the off spring of an American parent, he would be entitled to US citizenship.

  • Almanian!||

    NOW you're just makin' up shit...

  • Cyto||

    That was my thought on this as well. And I don't understand how any student of the law - such as an immigration court judge, to cite a random example - could possibly not understand such a simple maxim.

    The only authority the Mexican constitution could possible have is over the Mexican citizenship of a child, not the American citizenship.

  • Almanian!||

    Besides, Mexico's constitution is - like - over 100....days old. Or something. So - BFYTW!

  • Drake||

    Not enough?

  • John||

    ICE attorneys often can't speak Spanish. And ICE removal actions are done by the gross and are passed from one lawyer to another. So, a lot of what they file is cut and paste boiler plate. So once something got in the boiler plate, it stayed there.

    The real disgrace here is the immigration judges and the immigration lawyers. Just because ICE fucked up and made erroneous claims, doesn't excuse them from believing those claims. How the hell did no one bother the read the Mexican Constitution?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    But the Mexican constitution is in Spanish. If they wanted our Real Murican Judges to read it, they should have written it in English like real people.

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    but stormy, these are the geniuses you want making everyone's medical decisions. even though they're incompetent and wrong. and that knowledge won't change your mind, so how are you any different from them?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Well it's nice that you like me so much that I've started showing up in your play time, but just because your imaginary friend version of me thinks that doesn't mean I actually do.

  • John||

    Most of the immigration judges and attorneys for that matter of foreign born. Something about getting a green card that makes you want to get into immigration.

    But of course being foreign born DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS FROM MEXICO OR EVEN SPEAK SPANISH. If you are from Iran or Turkey, you won't speak Spanish any better than an American.

    But don't let the facts stop you from being a half wit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Your sarcasm detector needs adjusting.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    *adjust your sarcasm meter*

  • Super Hans||

    Please detect your sarcasm adjuster.

  • anon||

    How the hell did no one bother the read the Mexican Constitution?

    Old, outdated, etc.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    To be fair, I bet they couldn't produce their long-form birth certificates.

    But seriously, I don't even understand why Mexican law would play into the matter. Even if they had Mexican citizenship by birth you can still be a dual citizen. All that should matter is their eligibility under US law.

  • John||

    It is a choice of law issue. Yes, if you are the child of an American citizen, you are a citizen. But what does it mean to be a "child"? The choice of law principle would say that the law governing your status as a child is determined by the law of the country you were born. So if Mexico did have a constitutional provision that said bastard children were not "children" under the law, you are not a "child" under US immigration law either, since US law will defer to the home law of your country in determining if you are a child or not.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    If you are a citizen of a country living in that country, how can immigration law apply to you?

  • Cyto||

    Hey John, thanks for posting that. I actually believe that this is the rational used. Thanks for confirming my faith that studying the law requires folding one's considerable mental powers in on themselves until one reaches full retard.

    My brother is a lawyer and very, very bright. He is so steeped in the knowledge of the law that he doesn't understand what I'm talking about when I say crazy things like "the Constitution says 'congress shall make no law', not 'no law except if it is really important.'"

    For a profession that entirely depends on precise definitions of words, the law is amazingly flexible about what powers the federal government has, even though the constitution is very precise and succinct on how limited those powers are.

  • John Thacker||

    Mexican Constitution is no doubt a living document. Perhaps it didn't used to say that, but if the US Government thinks it says that now, perhaps it does.

  • anon||

    Mexican Constitution is no doubt a living document

    That made me throw up a little in my mouth.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Sounds similar to hassling Gibson for using Rosewood because we're trying to enforce the laws of another country.

    I guess it's logical that since the military wants to be the world's police force, every other agency wants the same task.

  • Tamfang||

    And what was the one about Honduran lobsters or something?

  • Brandybuck||

    Even if it were true, Mexican law does not trump US law within US jurisdiction. If either of your parents were US citizens when you were born, then so are you. Period.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Sounds somewhat like that US Constitution myth about a "navigable waterways" mention in Article 1, Section 8. Can we get this judge to revisit TVA and every other boondoggle justified by that myth?

  • thorax232||

    Borders are for tyrants.

  • Robert||

    Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod a relative, Jesse?

    This is like when Nachum Segal murdered all those other WFMU DJs because of a typo in the Talmud.

  • HarryUSA||

    Just like religion. Make up the rules as you go along!

  • Curtisls87||

    How many wise Latinas does it take to read the Constitution of Mexico?


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