Sunday, March 20, 2011
To Find a Birth Parent in Mexico, What Not to Do
There's a lot of general information online about finding a person in Mexico. Some articles offer good suggestions that can help you start your Mexico family genealogy search while other ideas are written by someone well-meaning but who hasn't researched the topic. I recently saw one erroneous recommendation that I can't let slide by.
In this particular article, the author gives several ideas for how you can find a birth parent or relative in Mexico. One of those suggestions was that if you know where someone went to school, you simply call the school, ask nicely and someone may give you the information you want.
I want to be sure that I am very clear here. This idea, no matter how well intended, is recommending an act that is a federal offense in Mexico. When I mentioned this idea to a Mexico government official in education (who's also an attorney), he was shocked. He quickly referred me to La Ley de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información Pública Gubernamental.
So let's say you call down to a school in Guadalajara and make this request so you can find a relative. If someone gives you this information, they just violated Mexico privacy laws, a federal crime. We are talking fines of thousands of dollars and years in prison.
There's this mistaken notion especially in the U.S. that everything in Mexico is very lax, that there are either no laws or that no one follows them. This is a serious misrepresentation of reality. Unfortunately, many people including businesses take action based on these misconceptions. This misunderstanding of the realities in Mexico cost U.S. businesses millions of dollars in fines and penalties each year. No matter what you may feel from reading stories in the news, one thing should be clear - there are definitely laws in Mexico to protect the privacy of people especially with regard to students in public and private schools.
There are many ways to find someone in Mexico. Some are free while other options include hiring a company to help you find your birth parent or relative in Mexico. I think we can all conduct our Mexico family genealogy searches and find people in Mexico without having to resort to criminal acts.
The Mexico Guru
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