Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Matricula Consular - Carte Blanche For Illegal Immigration?

North Carolina city council votes on whether to accept Mexican ID's in traffic stops

BULLETIN: Durham's city council voted 5-2 Monday night to tell city employees to treat the Mexican matricula consular on par with other official ID.

Nearly 400 cities in the U.S. have decided to allow police to give recognition to the identification card issued by Mexican consulates to Mexican nationals traveling in the U.S. without a passport.

The first city to do so was Austin in 2000. Since then, many cities have wrestled with the issue of whether libraries, banks, police officers and others officials should trust the bearer to be who the identification card says he is.

Even the federal government has been involved. Congress voted down a resolution in September, 2004, that would have precluded financial institutions from accepting the ID cards for transactions. The FDIC estimates that Mexican citizens wire about $18 billion to Mexico each year.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge labeled the matricula consular as a prime tool for money laundering and illegals looking to make an end run around American security forces. He was talking about drug smugglers, illegal aliens, potential terrorists and criminals on the run.

Most federal department heads deplore the lack of verification required by the Mexican consulates to confirm the identification of applicants. They have found the addresses on the documents are simply not current in most cases. For instance, Food Stamps are not issued on the strength of that form of ID.

The ongoing debate included a move by Representative Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, to allow federal officers to accept the identification cards to authorize access to the federal buildings in her home town. The measure failed, even thought the San Francisco City and County Board of Supervisors had earlier authorized the use of the cards for identification purposes in most dealings with the authorities.

Now the cities of the North Carolina Research Triangle, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, are in a heated debate about the matter.

Propounders say the matter is just common sense, an aid to getting to the bottom of any investigation or establishing the basis for an official transaction. Those who contradict say the matricula consular offers a carte blanche for illegal immigration.

The area of controversy appears to have become a matter of foregone conclusion awaiting the official stamp of approval in this affluent Piedmont neighborhood filled with corporate campuses and numerous university scientific research complexes.

Some members of the Durham City Council says it's just a matter of acknowledging what already happens in traffic stops when police need to identify the occupants of vehicles. They want to give the matter official sanction and be done with it.

Prominent Hispanic members of the community agree.

“It's more meaningful to have that official recognition,” said the Rev. Ricardo Correa, associate pastor of Ministerio Guerrero de Jesucristo. “The Hispanic community can have trust in the council saying, “We recognize this document.”

Typically, Durham police will issue a ticket for driving without a license instead of jailing the perpetrator, as long as they have some other form of identification.

Not everyone is similarly thrilled with the arrangement.

“Police departments will look at any document someone may have because it could shed some kind of light, but why do we need to bless that with official holy water?” asked Ron Woodard of NC Listen, a group that advocates stronger enforcement of immigration laws.

That faction insists that the official Mexican government ID cards may confuse employers and make them think it's okay to hire illegal aliens, an act that is a violation of federal law in itself.

Though the council was slated to vote on the matter Monday, no official word has reached The Legendary, as yet.

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