Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico steps up help for citizens in US after Trump win

Protesters hold signs as they march in opposition to the election of President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, in St. Louis. Image copyright AP
Image caption There have been protests against Mr Trump's election and in support of immigrants in a number of US cities

Mexico has published a list of measures aimed at helping Mexicans living in the United States from becoming the victims of what it called abuse and fraud.

Under the title "we are with you," it issued a list of 11 immediate steps, including a hotline, and warns citizens "to avoid any conflict situation".

The move comes a week after Donald Trump won the US presidential election.

Mr Trump's plan to deport millions of undocumented migrants is a cause of concern to many Mexicans in the US.

While the Mexican foreign ministry's statement (in Spanish) does not mention Mr Trump or his election win directly, it comes just days after he said he would deport or jail up to three million undocumented migrants soon after taking office.

Mexican citizens account for a large percentage of the estimated eleven million total undocumented migrants in the US.

The foreign ministry said it would increase the number of appointments at its consulates to ensure that its citizens could get their documents, such as passports or birth certificates, in order.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Unlike this truck driver, not all Mexicans in the US have their documents in order

The ministry also said it would introduce an app which contains information on migration issues and contact details for Mexican consulates in the US.

The consulates will make a greater effort to reach out to citizens and will "strengthen the dialogue with state and local authorities", the statement says.

The new 24-hour hotline will be accessible to Mexicans in the US to answer questions about immigration measures or report "any incidents".

Many Mexicans in the US fear that Mr Trump's pledge to deport or jail undocumented migrants soon after he takes office will result in a rise in discrimination against them.

They are also concerned that even those who have their documents in order could get caught up in police raids or checks.

Will Trump chase illegal immigrants from the US?

Image copyright AP

Mr Trump has said that on his first day in office he will sign orders to speed up the removal of "criminal illegal immigrants", such as gang members and drug dealers.

Overall, there are about 11 million illegal immigrants in the US, and Mr Trump has published a 10-point plan on immigration which includes overturning amnesties introduced by President Barack Obama, strictly enforcing immigration laws and deporting those who do not have correct documents.

In the US, though, illegal immigrants do have a right to due process, so many more judges and prosecution lawyers will need to be appointed to make this happen in practice and it could clog up the court system for years to come.

Congress would need to approve funding for this process.

Mr Trump is expected to revoke President Obama's executive orders of 2014, which gave hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants temporary legal status and an indefinite reprieve from deportation. Executive orders allow presidents to introduce their own legally binding policies without Congressional approval.

Read more: Trump presidency: Your questions answered

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