Since 1978, in what should have been investigated by someone - anyone - as a ridiculous law, U.S. officials have used a nonexistent Mexican law to deny citizenship to countless - otherwise eligible - immigrants.
Citing "Article 314" of the Mexican Constitution, U.S. immigration officials required out of wedlock birth to be "legitimated" under Mexican law until Sigifredo Saldana Iracheta - who was deported four times, detained for two years, and repeatedly separated from his family in South Texas - received this ruling last month from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The government, in its oral arguments to the court, suggested that the error was due to a "typo, and that "Article 314" did not exist.
In its decision, the Circuit Court took issue with the government's explanation for the 35 years of erroneous use of Mexican law.
Though the government attempted to dismiss this error as a mere “typo,” we cannot agree. It is unclear what legal authority the BIA actually relied on in Reyes. It may have been a provision of the applicable civil code, as opposed to the Constitution of Mexico. The substance of the law may or may not have been correct in Reyes, but the BIA’s mistake in citing a non-existent constitutional provision, perpetuated and uncorrected by DHS in subsequent years, prevented the agency from making the correct inquiries or possibly from applying the correct law in subsequent cases. That error has wound its way through multiple agency decisions in immigration matters, which are significant to the impacted individuals.
Let us know in the comments below if you think government officials knew the law was bogus - or if you think it was just a simple typo.
Do you know anyone who was denied citizenship based on Article 314?
The full decision from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals can be read here.