Consul reaches out to serve more people in Yuma area
For nearly two decades, people born in the United States to Mexican parents have been allowed to become citizens of Mexico as well as of this country.
Eusebio Augusto Romero, Mexico's consul in Yuma, assumes numerous residents here qualify for dual citizenship, given the area's proximity to and ties with Mexico.
But, he says, few residents have taken advantage of that right – at least not based on the number who have so far sought dual citizenship through the consulate.
In 1997, Mexico's nationality laws were changed to allow for dual citizenship, Romero said, but nearly two decades later, many people assume they can be citizens of one or the other, but not both.
"That's not true," he said. "On the contrary, you gain a nationality."
Dual citizenship can be granted in a single visit to the consulate, says Romero, but few people who would otherwise qualify for the benefit seek it.
In fact, he says, many residents of Mexican nationality or descent are aware of all the services they can gain through the Yuma consulate.
Apart from conferring citizenship, the consulate handles applications from residents for Mexican passports and birth certificates, notarizes documents, as well as issues matriculas consulares, which are a form of identification card for use by Mexican citizens at banks and government offices in the United States and other countries.
On any given day, the consulate processes 15 to 20 applications from people seeking a variety of documents, says Romero, adding the office could handle many more than that.
"We can do double what we are doing," he said. "The consulate is under-utilized."
As is the case with dual citizenship, Romero said, many residents are unaware of all the other services that consulate can provide.
Another part of the problem, he said, is the consulate's downtown Yuma office is not conveniently located for many people who live within the consul's service area of La Paz as well as Yuma County. In recent years, the consulate has been sending staff members to outlying communities to provide many of the same services offered in Yuma.
"The goal is to reach out to more people through these programs."