Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Deadline to reclaim Mexican nationality looms

Citizen Staff

The 5-year window allowing dual citizenship closes Thursday.



When Dr. Manuel Mascareñas became a U.S. citizen in 1997, a piece of his heart stayed in Mexico.

Under Mexican law, Mascareñas had to renounce his nationality to his home country.

Last month, he was able to reclaim it under the provisions of a 5-year-old Mexican law allowing Mexicans who become citizens of another country to regain their nationality.

“I always wanted Mexican citizenship,” Mascareñas said. “My family is there, and I have property there.”

Hundreds of Tucsonans have taken advantage of the law, which expires Thursday, said Ernesto Torices of the Mexican Consulate in Tucson.

Hoping to help eligible Tucsonans who want to reclaim their Mexican nationality, the consulate will open its door Saturday to process paperwork.

For some, reclaiming their Mexican nationality is a business decision.

For others, the decision is a matter of pride.

When Olympic boxer Oscar de la Hoya, who was born in Los Angeles, received his Mexican nationality in December, he told The Associated Press it was “a long-awaited dream.”

Before 1998, Mexicans who became citizens of another country automatically forfeited nationality in their homeland.

The Mexican government changed its laws that year and no longer strips someone of his nationality, instead recognizing multinationality.

Those who became citizens in foreign countries before 1998 were given five years to apply for reinstatement.

The advantage, the consulate says, is that people with Mexican nationality may buy a home or land, open a business or attend school in Mexico at a reduced cost.

For example, Mexico does not allow noncitizens to own land within 30 miles of the beach or within 60 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, he explains.

“In other words, you could not buy land in Nogales or Rocky Point,” Torices says.

And, he adds, if a Mexican with the recognized nationality returned to live in Mexico, the person could hold elected office and vote.

Mascareñas said he likes the fact that when visiting in Mexico, he will be protected by its constitution.

“Why would you not take advantage of an option like this?” he asked. “It is very important to have that nationality.”

Since Jan. 1, 190 Tucsonans have reclaimed their Mexican nationality, Torices says.

Torices says dual citizenship does not come with special perks for getting out of trouble and can be forfeited if abused.

“People with two nationalities cannot play with it,” he says. “You cannot use your nationality as it suits you.”

Depending on which country you are in, either government will hold you accountable to its laws, Torices says.

The Mexican Consulate in Tucson will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to process applications before the program expires Thursday.

How to get a certificate

Anyone interested in obtaining a certificate of Mexican citizenship may call the consulate at 882-5595 (Ext. 103, 104 or 105) or stop by the office, at 553 S. Stone Ave., tomorrow.

The application costs $15 and requires the following documentation:

- A certified copy of your Mexican birth certificate

- Proof of U.S. citizenship (or any other country’s citizenship)

- Two forms of identification that include a picture and signature

- Two passport-size photographs (front view)

- Married women also must provide a copy of their marriage certificate.

Adult children of Mexican-born parents must have a copy of one of their parent’s Mexican birth certificate, along with the other forms.


‘Why would you not take advantage of an option like this? It is very important to have that nationality.’ – Dr. Manuel Mascareñas, who became an American citizen in 1997. He stands in front of a painting in his office depicting a traditional Mexican street scene.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service