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Detroit — Anticipating an increase in Mexican nationals applying for passports and identification, Mexico’s consulate in Detroit plans to expand its business hours.

Juan Manuel Solana Morales, the consul of Mexico in Detroit, said his office will open for appointments on evenings and weekends, if needed, to process applications.

“We’re getting about 20 appointments each business day, but we’re ready to get 100 or more,” he said during a media conference at the consulate’s offices in downtown Detroit. “We’re typically open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., but we’ll add hours from 3-5 p.m. weekdays and open Saturday if we get enough requests for appointments.”

The announcement comes four days after President Barack Obama issued an executive order to spare from deportation millions who are in the U.S. illegally.

Under the order, immigrants who have been in the country illegally for more than five years, but whose children are citizens or lawful permanent residents, can be given relief from deportation for three years and get work permits. Applicants must pass background checks and pay fees.

One of the other requirements is they have to provide valid identification from their home countries.

Mexican immigrant Jose Contreras, 39, of Ann Arbor was at the media conference and praised Obama’s executive order.

“I think this is a great opportunity to prove we’re not here trying to live off of the U.S. government,” said Contreras, who has lived in Michigan for half his life. “We’re here for the same reason immigrants came here 100 years ago and the same reason everyone is here.”

Solana said his office’s increased hours are intended “to guarantee every single Mexican national who can benefit from (President Obama’s) action will have a passport in time to take advantage of the order.”

The consulate charges $74 for a three-year passport and $101 for a six-year passport. Most applicants can get their passport on the same day as their appointment, Solana said.

cramirez@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2058

Consulate in Detroit

Immigrants from Mexico who need to apply for a passport or Mexican federal identification should either call the consulate at (313) 964-4515 or log on to www.sre.gob.mx/detroit.

Source: Consulate of Mexico Detroit

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