Marina del Pilar Avila Olmeda is the governor of the Mexican state of Baja California.
Avila and Olmeda are her two last names, as per the Spanish surname custom, but I’ve seen her referred to in Mexican media as Marina del Pilar.
Governor Marina del Pilar gave birth on January 14th to her second child. And she gave birth on U.S. soil.
According to our current automatic birthright citizenship policy, that makes her child a U.S. citizen. (See my previous article on the topic).
According to Mexican law, the Governor’s child, though born in the U.S., is also recognized as a citizen of Mexico.
This case exemplifies the fact that it’s not just illegal aliens who avail themselves of birthright citizenship. Well-off Mexicans and other foreigners also take advantage of it. Turkish and Chinese women, for example, fly here to give birth.
Or consider the case of Yaser Hamdi, captured in Afghanistan along with Taliban fighters. Hamdi was a U.S. citizen as he had been born to Saudi parents in the United States.
The state of Baja California, sometimes called Baja California Norte, is the northern half of the Baja California peninsula.
Baja California state has the highest standard of living in Mexico after Mexico City.
Its capital is Mexicali, which is on the border across from California.
Little Diego arrived two weeks earlier than expected. Governor del Pilar was still carrying on a regular public schedule until the day she gave birth. She still had time to get to Brawley in the U.S.A. and have the baby.Rather than giving birth to her baby in Mexicali, Governor del Pilar went to Brawley, California, 34 miles from Mexicali. There she gave birth to her son Diego Jose Torres Avila, who weighed 8.81 pounds and was 20 inches long.
The father, in case you were curious, is the Governor’s husband Carlos Torres Torres. They were married in 2019.
This is not her first child born in Brawley. She gave birth to a daughter there six years ago.
There was some criticism in Mexico over her choice for Baby Diego’s birthplace.
It was called “elitist” and “hypocritical.”
The Mexican magazine/website Proceso ran an article entitled, “Gobernadora de Baja California da a luz en Brawley, Estados Unidos” (Governor of Baja California Gives Birth in Brawley, United States).
The comments section had plenty of opinions.
Allow me to share a few (my translations):
A criticism: “She governs in Mexico but prefers to have her son in the United States? What a message…”
Another wrote that, “Mexicali has 3 excellent private hospitals. She simply wants her children to have American citizenship…”
Exactly. Some commenters defended her decision on that basis.
In Mexico, U.S. citizenship is seen as a means to an end, a way of acquiring benefits.
But is mass dual citizenship good for the future of the United States?
Check out this comment on the Proceso article: “I would have liked Trump to be in power and he would have removed this appetite for giving birth in the United States to obtain citizenship.”
I wish that were true. But Trump was in office for four years and did nothing about it.
Anyway, how did Governor Marina del Pilar or her staff respond to Mexican criticism of her choice?
Her office stated that Baby Diego “is most certainly Mexican and will have dual citizenship.”
Sounds like the Governor knows what she’s doing. And I wish Baby Diego the best.
But is this policy good for the United States?