(corrects typo in lede)


Fifty-three Mexican nationals are in U.S. prisons awaiting execution, including 13 in Texas, which annually leads the nation in the number of people put to death.

This week, Mexico's Senate formally asked the Foreign Relations Secretariat for a report on the number of Mexicans on death row in the United States and efforts being made to provide them with legal assistance.

Human rights activists have expressed concern about a possible "wave of executions" of Mexicans in the United States, Sen. David Monreal, who sponsored the measure, said, without explaining the source of the information.

The 13 death-row Mexicans in Texas are the ones at greatest risk of dying, attorney and capital-punishment opponent Sandra Babcock told Efe.

Texas executes an average of 19 prisoners a year.

Babcock noted that the defense of 51 of the 53 Mexicans facing execution in is based on a March 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice.

The ICJ ordered the United States to review the death sentences imposed on Humberto Leal Garcia and 51 other Mexicans because they had not been informed of their right to consular assistance to mount a defense in court.

Leal was executed by Texas in July 2011 after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay and Texas Gov. Rick Perry declined to intervene.

Access to consular assistance can make the difference between life and death for a foreign defendant, Babcock said.

None of the Mexicans on death row in the United States currently has a scheduled execution date.

But according to lawyer Richard Burr, who represents a Mexican on death row in Texas, his client and others are vulnerable because a district judge can set an execution date without warning. EFE