Mr. Nelson to Mr. Fish
Sir: On the 11th instant, the Mexican government submitted to congress an “initiative” or draught of a proposed law, regulating the whole subject of foreign citizenship in Mexico, accompanied by a message recommending the measure to the prompt consideration of that body. With these documents was published in the Diario Oficial a circular addressed on the same date, by the acting secretary of foreign affairs, to the heads of the ministries, inserting and commenting upon a former circular, dated the 31st of January last, by which it was made known that no matter of business coming before any ministry, in which any foreigner may be directly or indirectly concerned, is to be decided without submitting copies of the documents in the respective cases to the department of foreign affairs, and soliciting therefrom information as to the antecedents of the said foreigner.
The project of law specifies a large number of cases in which the foreign resident is to be considered a Mexican citizen unless he shall, in each case, enter a new protest, before the competent authority, that he desires to preserve his original citizenship; and, what is still more singular, cases are indicated in which Mexican citizenship becomes a sort of arbitrary penalty, which may be imposed by the government upon a foreigner, in lieu of expulsion from the country, after trial, conviction, and punishment for fraud.
This project has naturally created great comment and some indignation among foreigners; but there is not the slightest probability of any such law being now passed by Congress.
I inclose copies and translations of the above-mentioned circular, (A and B;) of the message, (C and D;) and of the project of law, (E and F,) the latter in a printed slip from The Two Republics of the 20th instant.