Mexico has opened legal aid centres in its 50 consulates across the United States to defend its citizens amid worries of a crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

The centres will provide free legal assistance to Mexican citizens who feel that their rights in the US are being threatened. 

On Saturday, Luis Videgaray, Mexico's foreign minister, called on the US government to respect the rights of Mexicans, and urged the US to allow a path to legality for those without documents.

"We are not promoting illegality," Videgaray said in a video of an event at the Mexican consulate in New York provided by the foreign ministry.

He said Mexico's government wants its citizens in the US to follow the law, but it also advocates the respect of human rights .

"Today, we are facing a situation that can paradoxically represent an opportunity, when suddenly a government wants to apply the law more severely," Videgaray said.

"It is becoming more than evident that to apply the law, which is the obligation of any state, it would also imply a real economic damage to this country which highlights the need for an immigration reform that resolves once and for all the legal status of the people," Videgaray said.

Mexico is worried about the impact that guidelines issued last month by President Donald Trump will have on the lives of its citizens.

READ MORE: Dear Donald Trump - A letter from Mexico

During his first month in office, Trump issued orders to initiate tougher deportation procedures, following up on campaign promises to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, and crackdown on illegal migration.

The Pew Research Center estimates that there are nearly six million undocumented Mexicans living in the US.

In late February, Videgaray expressed "worry and irritation" about Trump's new policies to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security chief John Kelly when they visited Mexico for talks on immigration and security.

Diplomatic relations between the neighbouring countries have deteriorated after Trump declared his plan to build the wall, the construction of which, he said, will be paid for by Mexico.

The remarks prompted President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a visit to Washington on January 31 and to announce extra funding to protect the rights of Mexican citizens in the US.

Source: Reuters news agency