I am a Mexican citizen and I live legally in the United States. That does not make me disloyal to the United States, nor does it make me “illegal”. That I have chosen to keep my Mexican citizenship and not become a US citizen takes nothing away from US citizens nor the United States. As a legal (I hate the word) Mexican citizen living in the United States, I pay taxes and contribute to my community.

If need be, I will fight to protect the United States against foreign aggressors. The reason is simple enough – it is because anyone that threatens the United States also threatens my family and my friends. You see, keeping my citizenship does not make me disloyal to the country I have chosen to live in.

As a matter of fact, although I choose to keep the citizenship of my birth country while choosing to live in the United States, I am still required to fulfill all the requirements that US citizens must fulfill for their citizenship. And, although I pay taxes and are subject to the laws of the country, I have one major disadvantage over the US citizens – I cannot choose who represents my interests in government affairs. But guess what? I am ok with that because it is a choice I have made for myself.

However, that does not mean that I must sit by quietly and not contribute to the country by remaining silent when I see something that is wrong or needs to be corrected. I have a voice and occasionally, ok, more often than not, I choose to use it.

What is important to note is that as a member of the United States community I do not have to be a US citizen to contribute to the country. I pay taxes; thus, I pay my fair share. As a non-citizen, however, there are benefits that I am not entitled to that other taxpayers have access to. I have no problem with that. As a matter of fact, if I break the law, not only do I have to pay me debt to society, but I can also be expelled from the country after I serve my sentence. I am also ok with that.

Throughout my history in the United States, I have employed many US citizens, and by my business activities, I have contributed to other US citizens, either by purchasing their goods or by supporting their businesses. Even today, I pay for goods in US stores.

Even with this set of facts, there are many who argue that I have no right to comment about US politics and interject my opinion. Others argue that since I am not a US citizen I have no right to be here, regardless of any US government authority that I have to be here. I see this constantly in the emails and comments on my blog. They are either insinuations of “why are you here” to outright admonitions of “why don’t you leave if you hate it so much” posts on my blog or emails sent to me.

Obviously, there is also the minority that sees anything Mexican, even US citizens, as a threat so none of this surprises me.

Then there are the misdirects where I am challenged to write about the wrongs in Mexico. The notion being that I must be here because Mexico is much worse. The fact is that I choose to be here for a reason unrelated to Mexico being “worse”. As a matter of fact, the fact that I retain my Mexican citizenship and I have not become US citizen, I believe, speaks volumes as to how much I believe in my country.

I have been developing many outlets for my thoughts and opinions over the years. They range from this blog to editorials to newspapers and multimedia projects such as my videos and comics. I express myself as I feel like expressing myself. Although I have criticized Mexican affairs and cultural nuances before, it is not something that I do regularly. This is not because I am ignorant to them, but rather because I have embarked on trying to fill a void in the national narrative.

The void is a counter to the Mexico bashing and immigrant dehumanizing I have experienced myself or witnessed over the years. I do this because I believe it is important. That I choose to focus on this does not mean that I ignore the many other problems happening around the world, or in my country.

Like all countries, Mexico has its share of problems but that does not diminish my loyalty to my country nor does it make it acceptable to me that Mexico sometimes fails politically and on how it treats my fellow countrymen and other people.

But I also object to people vilifying Mexico, its citizens or any other immigrant, for that matter, just because they feel empowered to. I cannot end it, but I can offer a counter to it, and I will continue to do so anyway I can. So, please, stop demanding that I leave just because I’m Mexican!

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

One reply on “Yo Soy Mexicano”

  1. Martin, you are a Resident Alien and have rights except voting which is ok. So I disagree that you should leave.

    If everyone left a country after criticizing the country there would be a booming business for transportation and houses

    Why not become a dual citizen ?

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