Expats in Mexico threatened with deportation over incomplete documents

Published:  21 Nov at 6 PM
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American expats are now facing deportations similar to those being experienced in Thailand.

It seems the world is now regressing as regards its overall treatments of expats, many of whom in various popular worldwide destinations are now facing deportation for simple and easily remedied mistakes in documentation. For some while, Western expats in Thailand have been the targets of official harassment over minor bureaucratic errors and the re-hashing of old laws, with US expats in Mexico now posting similar shock-horror stories.

The recent breaking news that millions of US citizens living in Mexico could be deported back across the border for minor documentation errors sent a shiver of fear across the country’s huge expat community. Some full-time expat residents and many snowbirds took flight in the general direction of the country’s immigration offices to either get updated paperwork or get theirs checked for authenticity.

The main issue for Mexico and its immigrants, just as it is in the Southeast Asian retiree hot-spot, was to do with the issuing of travel permits required for domestic travel inside the country. Since 2015, expats have been required to purchase a Forma Migratoria Multiple permit should they wish to spend a week or so in another region. The ruling seems to have been generally ignored until an enterprising local newspaper in Rosarito published a report stating that over 1,000 of the city’s 8,000 US expats weren’t ‘residing legally’.

Apparently, the head of Baja immigration believes the majority of US citizens entered the country on 180 day permits and never bothered to renew them, ending his statement with the promise that all those who did so will be deported. Although no mass deportations have yet been reported, occasional stories of permit-related difficulties are beginning to emerge. One hapless US resident drove almost 1,000 miles from Baja to La Paz to catch a ferry to Mazatlan, but was refused and told to go back to where he came from. His crime was that he’d forgotten to get a migration office stamp on his permit.

For international expat followers of online instances of what might be seen as unnecessary prejudice and hassles against foreigners, the above and many similar instances are becoming all too familiar across many former worldwide expat havens. Given that ‘freedom of movement’ has been something of a human right since the first humans decided to find more convenient caves, the gradual closing down of opportunities to travel, relocate or simply move to the next country for work or retirement is a massive step back in entirely the wrong direction.
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