New deportation rules issued by President Donald Trump's administration aim to significantly increase deportations, as well as enlist local police officers as enforcers. The Mexican general consulate of New England is now working to educate Mexican nationals about their rights.
The Mexican government recently pledged $50 million to help its citizens in the United States who are facing deportation.
The Mexican consulate in Boston, which represents Vermont, says it isn't clear when the money will be allocated, or what New England's portion will be. The region has nearly 69,000 people born in Mexico—compared to about 11 million nationally.
General Consul Emilio Rabasa says in recent months, he has seen a surge in requests for Mexican passports and dual Mexican birth certificates for children born in the United States.
"The figure has more than doubled as compared to the same amount of last year," he says. "So, yes, I'm happy that our message is getting to the community."
Rabasa says obtaining Mexican birth certificates for children born in the U.S., which makes them American citizens, is critical to keeping the family together in the event that parents are deported.
The General Consul also says his office has increased efforts to educate Mexican nationals about their rights in the event of an arrest, including "the right to be silent, the right to call a lawyer or his consulate."
"I wouldn't say we are in a state of fear, but yes, of concern about these measures that have been issued by the federal government," says Rabasa.
The Trump administration's memo seeks to aggressively ramp up deportation efforts, including speeding up deportation efforts, hiring thousands more immigration officers and constructing new detention facilities.
The consul general says he is also working with leaders in Vermont, as well as from Ben and Jerry's, to ensure that Mexican nationals working on Vermont dairy farms are receiving fair wages and proper living conditions.