On January 4, 2012, CMS sponsored a two-hour discussion on the issue of birth registration in Mexico. According to government estimates, as many as 7 million Mexicans lack birth certificates. In legal terms, they do not exist and their right to an official identity, a recognized name and a nationality is compromised. Without proof of citizenship, they lack legal protection, cannot vote, and lack access to education, health care, and a range of other rights and benefits. In addition, identification is fundamental to the immigration process in the United States and in other countries.
Karen Mercado, the Executive Director of the BE Foundation: Derecho a La Identidad, outlined the issue and discuss her agency’s advocacy in support of universal birth registration in Mexico. Serving as respondents were Mexican Consul Norma Aguilar; Alyshia Gálvez, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Latin American and Puerto Rican Studies, Lehman College/City University of New York; and Thomas Shea of the New York Immigration Coalition. Donald Kerwin, CMS’s Executive Director, moderated the session.