Mexico bars immigrants from thousands of jobs

If Arnold Schwarzenegger had migrated to Mexico instead of the United States, he couldn't be a governor. If Argentina native Sergio Villanueva, fire-fighter hero of the Sept. 11 attacks, had moved to Tecate instead of New York, he wouldn't have been allowed on the force, say observers.

Even as Mexico presses the United States to grant unrestricted citizenship to millions of undocumented Mexican migrants, its officials at times calling U.S. policies "xenophobic," Mexico places daunting limitations on anyone born outside its territory, say observers:

  • In the United States, only two posts – the presidency and vice presidency – are reserved for the native born. In Mexico, non-natives are banned from those and thousands of other jobs, even if they are legal, naturalised citizens.

  • Foreign-born Mexicans can't hold seats in either house of the congress. They're also banned from state legislatures, the Supreme Court and all governorships. Many states ban foreign-born Mexicans from spots on town councils.

  • And Mexico's Constitution reserves almost all federal posts, and any position in the military and merchant marine, for "native-born Mexicans."

    Recently the Mexican government has gone even further, say observers:

  • Since at least 2003, it has encouraged cities to ban non-natives from such local jobs as fire-fighters, police and judges.

  • Mexico's Interior Department – which recommended the bans as part of "model" city statutes it distributed to local officials – could cite no basis for extending the bans to local posts.

    The foreign-born make up just 0.5 per cent of Mexico's 105 million people, compared with about 13 per cent in the United States, which has a total population of 299 million. Mexico grants citizenship to about 3,000 people a year, compared to the U.S. average of almost a half million.

    Source: Associated Press, Mexico bars immigrants from thousands of jobs; Restrictions south of the border prohibit non-natives from official posts,, May 21, 2006.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 30 May 2006
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