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Mitt Romney's Mexican Roots; His Father Was Born In Mexico, Could Choose Dual Citizenship

Romney

First Posted: 01/09/12 07:17 AM ET Updated: 01/09/12 06:41 PM ET

Four years after electing its first black president, the U.S. could soon have its first presidential nominee whose father was born in Mexico.

It's already been published: Mitt Romney's father is Mexican. George Romney was born in 1907 in an American colony in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

This could could make his son, Mitt, today's favorite to be the GOP presidential candidate, a potential Mexican citizen, with full rights.

Check out any official Mexican guide for "paisanos" - those living in the U.S. - that now appear to have been written with Romney's father in mind: "Dear Paisano: If you are Mexican and have children born in the United States, by registering them in any Mexican consulate they will have dual nationality." (source in Spanish)

Mitt Romney needs to just -- if he hasn't already -- go to the closest consulate to his domicile (or whenever he is campaigning right now) with some documents that his aides-de-camp could easily gather: the birth certificate of baby Willard Mitt, born March 12, 1947 in Detroit, Mich., together with the name of the hospital and the doctor in charge, his father George W. Romney's birth certificate and two witnesses.

In fact, the GOP front runner has deep roots in Mexico, including his second cousin Leighton Romney, and about 40 other relatives descended from religious pioneers who first traveled to Mexico 125 years ago, according to report airing tonight on NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams." The Romneys of Mexico live in Colonia Juarez and Colonia Dublan, two remaining settlements just 175 miles south of the border. They said they support the candidate and are proud of their family history. Romney has never come to visit.

"He's got a great pioneer heritage starting with people that crossed the plains going from Illinois to Utah, and then on from Utah down to Mexico," Leighton Romney told NBC's Mike Taibbi. "So there's a great heritage there of people that had to fight for what they believed in and for people that had to travel to different places and learn different things. I think there's a vast amount of experience that he could draw from there."

Of course, Romney never considered himself Mexican. He has said little about this part of his life. His family moved to that country fleeing American laws against polygamy, then considered a crucial pillar of his church.

The Romneys are Mexican since Miles Park Romney crossed the border in 1884, rejecting the Edmund Act that in 1882 declared polygamy a felony.

In 1890, the Mormon Church (LDS) disavowed plural marriage.

According to an AP story, Miles married his fifth wife seven years later. His own father had 12 wives.

In 1912, Mitt grandfather's Gaskell Romney returned to the U.S. fleeing the Mexican Revolution. (No mention of immigration papers here). The Romney family's genealogy page states he lost all his "home and possessions" there. But the family later sued the Mexican government and was awarded damages in 1938. This seed money "put the family on a solid financial footing." The fact that his father was then a sort of Mexican immigrant didn't prevent George from becoming CEO of American Motors and the governor of Michigan.

This is relevant, of course, because among all Republican candidates in the 2012 election cycle, as well as in 2008, Mitt Romney has been the one who consistently argued against immigration reform and for the swift deportation of all undocumented immigrants in the United States. He recently criticized the suggestion by another conservative candidate -- Newt Gingrich -- to legalize those immigrants who have lived here for decades who "go to church and pay their taxes" as "Amnesty" -- one of the worst insults in his lexicon.

Again, his Mexican past was never a secret. But not everybody knew it. Now, in the heat of the primaries and the debates between the GOP candidates, Romney's Mexican father turns out to be breaking news, an exclusive. Like a terrible family secret was suddenly disclosed.

All of a sudden, there is an interview with distant cousin Leighton Romney, who still lives in Colonia Dublan, 175 miles south of the Mexican.

"We certainly have a love for both countries," Leighton Romney told NBC. "I can sing both national anthems and tear up at both of them. I think that having two countries that you love and two countries that you can serve or be a beneficiary of their service is a great thing."

Why is this coming out now?

Could it be because those who are behind the re-re-re-publication of the alleged secret want to identify Romney as a Mexican exploiting the deep distrust of everything Mexican many of them have?

This is all reminiscent of the outrageous campaign that attempts to de-legitimize President Obama, arguing that he is not fit to rule the country because (other than his supposed identity as a socialistic, occult-believing Muslim, etc., etc...) even if he was born here, he is still the son of a man born in a foreign country. Kenya.

Where will it stop?

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