The possibility of a Donald Trump presidency could soon have people pricing one-way airline tickets out of the country.
According to Mashable, Google searches for “How Do I Move To Canada” spiked after the Republican frontrunner won seven states on Super Tuesday. But Canada won’t get a Trump-brand border wall, so Mexico might be a safer bet for those who really want to get away.
Mexico is already home to about 1 million U.S. citizens (mostly retirees), and thousands of other expats from all over the world. It's also home to a growing population of international refugees.
Mexico has had a long history as an asylum country. The Aztec nation was a safe haven for thousands of Spaniards fleeing the Franco dictatorship in the 1930s, and became an adoptive country for more than a thousand European Jews escaping the Nazis during WWII.
Further back in time, Mexico took in Americans—including U.S. soldiers—who were fleeing the brutal U.S. Civil War. It also gave safe harbor to U.S. citizens accused of being communists during the heady days of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s infamous witch hunt in the 1940s-50s.
Mexico currently receives refugee applications mostly from Central Americans fleeing gang violence and extortion. Last year alone the country got 3,044 applications, and approved 789, compared to the nearly 70,000 refugees who were admitted to the U.S.
So while Mexico doesn't accept as many refugees as other countries, being American plays to your advantage. According to the Washington Post, a signficant number of U.S. expats in Mexico are undocumented. Mexican immigration agents are mostly focused on nabbing Central Americans, so gringos can usually fly under the radar.
So take heart. Mexico will welcome you. And if Trump keeps good on his campaign promises, his presidency might just qualify you for refugee status under Mexican law, which considers asylum requests from any foreigner who is persecuted on the basis of race, religion, nationality, or gender, or whose human rights have been violated.
So here's how to do it, according a spokesperson from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Mexico:
- Foreigners have 30 days upon entering the country to submit a verbal or written asylum request at Mexico’s Refugee Agency (COMAR), or the National Institute of Migration.
- Once you have submitted your application, Mexican authorities must hand you a receipt acknowledging your request is being processed. This document, known as constancia in Spanish, will temporarily protect you against the Mexican migra and deportation to the United States.
- Officials must conduct an interview with you and any applying family members to establish motives for seeking refuge and to corroborate claims. After the interview officials have 45 days to analyze your request and 10 days to notify you of their decision.
- If approved, you will process your permanent residency at the offices of the National Migration Institute. The residency grants you rights including access to health care.
- In the case that your request is denied, you’ll have 15 days to appeal and request a review.
If you’re really serious about this click here to read full criteria and technicalities. It’s in Spanish, but you might as well start learning the language.