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Amnesty offered for illegal residents

Program aimed at as many as 15,000 undocumented residents

Immigration officials are offering amnesty to an estimated 10,000-15,000 illegal residents, giving them the chance to gain legal status.

The temporary regularization program, intended to benefit immigrants that entered Mexico before January 9, 2015, will be set in motion on January 9 and conclude on December 18.

Once their application has been accepted, the immigrants will be considered temporary residents for as long as four years and will receive a permit allowing them to work.

Applicants can prove their residence in Mexico through several means, such as presenting a lapsed temporary resident’s permit, rent receipts or medical documents. Bus and airplane tickets can also be presented, said the National Immigration Institute (INM).

If no documentation is available immigrants can also attest to the time they’ve been residing in Mexico by presenting two witnesses.”

After the four years are up they will have the opportunity to become permanent residents, said an INM official.

“We’re interested in people who already have roots here, a life in the country,” explained María Fernanda García Villalobos.

Official estimates indicate that between 10,000 and 15,000 people live in Mexico without documentation.

“I would like to reach 10,000 [regularizations], but if we reach the same number as last year, that would be excellent,” said García.

A similar program was applied last year when the INM received 4,000 regularization applications, of which 3,300 were accepted. Application were from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, the United States and Spain.

“Our intention next year is to thoroughly promote the program in order to reach the most foreigners with irregular status that we can,” said García.

García said no one will be prosecuted, no matter their status, after approaching an INM office.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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