MEXICO.- At first, Fuerza Migrante University began to make alliances with public and private institutions in Mexico. The original idea was to educate Mexicans in the United States on financial issues, but this issue led to others and currently there are even courses to learn how to sue in court for political rights.
In short: what any migrant knows how to legally confront the Mexican government if it prevents you from participating as an active subject in the country’s public life, voting or being voted for; If they don’t let him run for municipal president, governor, mayor, deputy of local congresses in their states…
“It’s about us having the same rights”, warned Verónica Giles, director of UFM, in a telephone interview.
Since Mexicans abroad were allowed to vote for President of the Republic, in that year. Progress to participate in other levels has been very slow and subject to restrictions.
“They have haggled over our rights, they have given them to us little by little,” warns Cesar Michel, an activist in California with the Coalition for the Political Rights of Mexicans Abroad.
At first, for example, electronic voting was not allowed, for example. Currently they can only vote for senators, not for federal deputies, and only in some state congresses are they allowed to have legislators; vote for governor in Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Nayarit, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas.
The bet of the UFM and the Electoral Tribunal is that Mexicans know how to demand their rights through the complaint.
“The courts do not work if there is no complaint, they are not investigative agencies. We must present complaints and complaints for the court to study. If there is something that is not working, the magistrates cannot act on their own. Therein lies the importance of the complaint, because without a complaint, the complaint does not proceed”, says Daniel Thatcher, professor at the Autonomous University of Mexico City.
For a couple of years, the congress of Mexico City discussed eliminating the figure of migrant deputy that was embodied in the Constitution. Despite claims from civil organizations, the vote decided to remove it. However, Mexicans abroad were not satisfied and turned to the TEPJF. Finally, in 2017, he determined that it should be restored because, otherwise, it violated his political rights.
Among the plaintiffs on that occasion was César Michel, who says that that victory meant a light on the road to understand how political rights are demanded from abroad.
“Now in political reform we are asking for the full participation of Mexican residents abroad and state by state. In Jalisco we are requesting, for example, that Jalisco residents abroad be represented, as is the case in Nayarit and Yucatán, Guanajuato and Zacatecas”.
César Michel recognizes that these demands are an ongoing process. “If the court orders that the rights of Mexicans abroad be legislated and defended, then it is an obligation and all officials must stop behaving as if the laws were made of chocolate, that if it does not matter if they are complied with or not” .
The Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power has been formed for 26 years and has two fundamental objectives: to be the final arbitrator of the electoral processes and to protect the political rights of citizens, in terms of the right to vote and be voted for, to attend to complaints and challenges.
“The most important thing is that it attends to the complaints of citizens when they have obstacles to vote, as is the case of Mexican citizens residing abroad who are not guaranteed that there will be candidacies from the migrant community,” explains Thatcher. “Since not all state or federal constitutions guarantee this right, you have to constantly resort to this instance.”
The Electoral Tribunal has set several paths for this: by text message, WhatsApp and also calls by traditional lines. They can also seek guidance through the page https://www.te.gob.mx/defensoria/. The ombudsman accompanies the entire process.
The university alliance
With the training courses at the UFM, the TEPJF seeks to give an educational meaning to everything that migrants can do even when they are abroad. They have courses like “law for non-lawyers”, with the purpose that they know about legality, democracy, how to obtain your INE from abroad, how to vote, as well as knowing what the deputies and senators do.
The courses are completely free to learn about the electoral institutions. The most recent ones started on November 8, but they can be taken online at any time because they are remote.
The director of the institution explains that they seek to strengthen the community in various axes: binationality, gender perspective, civic, ethical, economic, human rights, human development, sustainability and mental health in addition to political-electoral issues.
“The main objective is to empower migrants”, details Veronica Giles. “Hence the philosophy of reinforcing them politically and economically through education. At the same time, they provide education to their families, regardless of whether they reside in the United States or Mexico.”
At the end of each of these courses, adults obtain their certificates in any of the hybrid models, with online and face-to-face classes. The courses to get to know the Mexican electoral institutions are totally free.
To enter, it is enough for people to access the page of the Electoral Tribunal of the Judicial Power of the Federation and register there. Also on the platform www.educacionufm.com, in the free courses section.
Since last May 30, UFM inaugurated its first headquarters in Mexico —located in Puebla—, where they also offer face-to-face classes and certifications and at all times promote the empowerment of migrants through education.
If there is any need or doubt, people can communicate in Mexico at 77730185607.
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