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The Mexican government is planning to change its constitution to establish a permanent right for those born in Mexico and living in other nations to obtain dual citizenship, a move criticized by some U.S. immigration experts as counterproductive to American interests.

The changes, reports the Santa Barbara News Press, would allow Mexicans naturalized abroad to participate in their native country’s election process, as well as own land.

In 1998, Mexican lawmakers passed a constitutional amendment allowing Mexicans who had become citizens of another country to apply for dual citizenship. The window closed March 20, however.

Now, however, Mexico’s senate has passed a bill allowing for dual citizenship with no time limit – a measure supported by Mexican President Vicente Fox and most Mexican citizens. Mexican officials estimate that 10 million people born in Mexico currently live in the U.S., and 3 million have become American citizens.

Supporters believe the changes in Mexican law – which, as a constitutional amendment, requires approval by the Chamber of Deputies (lower house) and 17 of the country’s 32 states – would be beneficial for immigrants. But opponents say the Fox administration is only considering Mexico’s interests, not those of its northern neighbor.

David Ray, communications director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said there could be dire political and cultural implications for the U.S.

“There’s a growing number of U.S. citizens whose umbilical cord is attached to the Mexican government,” he told WorldNetDaily. “That will have huge political ramifications in upcoming U.S. domestic policy debates, particularly in immigration and trade.”

Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, also believes Mexican dual citizenship will have a negative impact on the U.S.

“In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, dual citizenship is a ‘self-evident absurdity,’” Krikorian told WND in an interview. “You can no more be a genuine citizen of two countries than you can adhere to two different religions at the same time.”

Ray described the dual citizenship concept as “an overall strategy” by Mexico City to “leverage its political clout … through pressure and mobilization of their dual citizens.”

“It’s really unprecedented in American history the amount of direct lobbying that’s going on here by the Mexican government to obtain their political goals,” he said. “There’s an increased move for dual citizenship. You have [Fox] lobbying [the U.S. government] for an amnesty for illegal immigrants. You have Mexican consulates pushing for recognition of the ‘matricula consular’ cards, which are issued to illegal immigrants. You have the consulates pushing for in-state tuition for illegal alien Mexican students.”

Mexico’s foreign ministry says 30,000 Mexican-born nationals who renounced their citizenship became dual citizens within the past three years, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reported. Millions more could if Mexico amends its constitution to allow native-born citizens living abroad unlimited time to apply.

“We just can’t sustain these kinds of demands on our resources,” Diana Hull, president of Californians for Population Stabilization, a Santa Barbara nonprofit group, told the News Press. “It’s not a question of who the people are, but how many are coming.”

Krikorian added that “dual citizenship is especially dangerous for the United States” because “as a nation not based on common blood or church, but on shared ideals and history, the formal attachment of some of our people to another country’s ideals and history creates the potential for enormous problems.”

He also sees a Mexican agenda: “This is part of a broader Mexican campaign, not to reconquer lost territories but to establish a kind of shared sovereignty over part of the American population.”

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