Civil Liberties

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.


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.]