CPS December 2013
The steps taken to search for a person in Mexico are much the same as the steps taken to search in the U.S.; however, searching in Mexico is more difficult because DFPS does not have access to electronic databases that include Mexico, and if extended family members or friends are found, they may not speak English.
In all cases, however, the caseworker must be persistent, must be patient, and must consistently follow up on leads.
Information Needed for Search
The caseworker reviews the case file thoroughly and interviews any person who might have information that will facilitate search efforts.
Specifically, the caseworker does as follows when interviewing:
• Asks for two surnames for any parent from Mexico, since the tradition in Mexico is to use both the father’s and mother’s last names; for example, Martin Olivera Ramirez is the son of Jaime Olivera and Luisa Ramirez.
• Asks for the date and place of birth and any last known address in Mexico for one or both parents OR ask for any relative known to be living in Mexico.
There are 31 states in Mexico plus the Distrito Federal (like D.C., D.F. surrounds Mexico City). Knowing which city or village and state that a family came from is extremely helpful.
• Asks where the parent was born, grew up, last worked, or lived in Mexico.
• Asks for information on any adults living in the U.S. who might have information about a missing parent, including asking for the names, addresses, cell numbers or phone numbers, and email addresses of any adult children or other adult relatives, friends, former spouses, or past employers.
Contacts to Use to Search for a Person in Mexico
The Mexican Consulate
Before contacting the consulate, if the child is not a U.S. citizen, the caseworker ensures that the consul has already been given notice about the child under the Vienna Convention. See 5831 Notice to the Foreign Consulate Required.
If notice hasn’t been given, the caseworker notifies the consul before following up to find out about search assistance.
When ready to request assistance with a search, the caseworker:
• contacts the closest Mexican consulate;
• explains that a child protection case is pending; and
• requests assistance in locating the missing parent who is believed to be living in Mexico.
The caseworker contacts by phone or in writing any U.S. relatives for whom the caseworker has an address or telephone number and request information about the missing parent, including the missing parent’s address, email address, and telephone numbers.
The caseworker contacts any possible relatives or other persons in Mexico by letter, email, or telephone.
For assistance with a Spanish speaker, the caseworker contacts the citizenship and immigration specialist in the caseworker’s region.
To facilitate future communication when writing to someone in Mexico, the caseworker provides the person with:
• a coupon for international return receipt (available at any post office);
• the caseworker’s email address; or
If a person who is the subject of a search lived in the U.S. previously, the caseworker also runs a diligent search in the state of last residence.
CPS Border Liaisons
• provides the CPS border liaisons with all of the information gathered; and
• asks the liaisons for any assistance they can provide.
For information on CPS subject matter experts and border liaisons see Form 2013 Questions and Procedures for Working With Foreign-Born Children in Foster Care.