The Mexican consulate in Los Angeles is planning to expand its hours and grow its staff by as much as 30 percent to accommodate Mexican nationals seeking deportation relief under Pres. Obama's recent immigration action.
Consul General Carlos Sada told KPCC he wants to add 20 to 30 more employees to his office of about 100. The additional staff would help Mexican nationals compile the documents they need to seek protection from deportation from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - like Mexican passports or consular ID cards required to prove their identities.
"I do not feel that overwhelmed, but I want to be prepared as possible," Sada said.
Mexican immigrants are expected to benefit from President Obama's executive action on immigration more than any other group. Sada said many do not have birth certificates, let alone photo ID.
Obama's immigration order, announced Thursday, will provide temporary legal status to about five of the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. Those who qualify include the parents of U.S. citizens and legal residents and immigrants who have lived in the U.S. more than five years.
Applications won't be available until sometime next year, probably in the spring.
Still, Sada said he is also considering sending outreach workers into neighborhoods to help Mexican nationals get their documents in order now.
This kind of work is not new for the consulate. It's already dispatched mobile units to Huntington Park, Lynwood and other neighborhoods with high numbers of Mexican nationals to assist those who want to apply for driver's licenses under the AB 60 state law taking effect in January. They also documents to prove their identification for purposes of a driver's license.
Sada said his job is to help Mexican nationals wherever they are. And he sees Obama’s executive action as a big improvement in their lives.
"By having temporary (protection from deportation), that reduces their vulnerability of being exploited or being unfairly treated," Sada said. "Like any other government in the world, you want your citizens to have the best conditions."