Should expats in Mexico get involved in political and civil matters?
There are many issues expats are very passionate about, and there was a time, we were willing to put ourselves in a position of discomfort to defend, placate and protect. However, the level of distress attained when standing up for ones beliefs should be taken into very serious consideration when visiting foreign soils, including Mexico of course.
Mexico does not look fondly upon visitors involving themselves in political and civil matters. If ones curiosity goes beyond this basic blog, one can check out the Mexican Constitution but in short, it addresses certain activities by saying: “The Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.” “Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.”
There are those who believe they are protected by the Constitution due to their permanent immigrant status, which simply isn’t the case. The Mexican Constitution also makes it very clear that “Mexicans shall have priority over foreigners under equality of circumstances for all classes of concessions…” So if you have any notions about suing your landlord, employer or anyone you feel you have a bone to pick with, enter into your debate with the knowledge that s/he will most likely be awarded the meat of the bone, if they are Mexican by birth and you are not. Participating in protests for animals and causes seems like such a noble thing to do, but it can get you a heap of unwanted attention.
Making statements about politicians, protesting the treatment of animals, getting involved in labor disputes are all precarious pastimes for some Expats living in Mexico and there have been many who have left with a one-way ticket and stories to tell.
In 2015 more than 2000 Americans were deported from Mexico. Many of these cases involved people who had lived in the country for extended periods of time, even years. Any small incident and the authorities ask for one’s travel documents and identification, and if they don’t prove current data allowing one to be in the country, one will be lucky to have time to pack a bag.
A good warning to the wise is to make sure one’s visas are up to date, keep one’s opinion to oneself and obey all the laws, no matter how emotional the situation.