The Mexican Embassy on Monday opened the doors to its San Jose, San Francisco and 48 other consular offices across the United States to undocumented immigrant youths seeking work permits and deportation relief through a new Obama administration directive.
The U.S. government won't begin accepting deportation relief applications until Aug. 15, but the Mexican government will help eligible young people apply by giving them information and ensuring they have the proper documents, said Juan Carlos Lara-Armienta, the Mexican Embassy's head of Latino affairs.
The relief directive from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security could benefit more than 1 million people 30 years old or younger who were brought to the country illegally as children, most of them from Mexico.
The Mexican Embassy partnered with a U.S. immigrant advocacy group, the United We Dream Network, and has been co-hosting community workshops around the Bay Area and country. More than 200 people crowded an Antioch forum on Friday.
Consular officials are making sure those born in Mexico have a Mexican passport that proves who they are to qualify for the relief directive, said Gabriela Márdero, spokeswoman for the Mexican Consulate in San Francisco.
"Most of these people don't have an ID," she said. "They have a birth certificate, but the birth certificate doesn't have a photo."
Mexican passports can cost between $74 and $101 depending on how long they last before expiring, said Ana María Osorio, spokeswoman for the Mexican Consulate in San Jose.
Her office is having its next workshop from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 2020 East San Antonio St., in San Jose.
United We Dream is also working with other foreign embassies from Latin America and the Philippines.