Mexico's ID card for aliens in
U.S. prompts a validity bill
By Jerry Seper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Members of the Congressional Immigration
Reform Caucus, concerned about Mexico's issuance
of identification cards to its citizens now in this
country, introduced legislation yesterday to ensure the
security and validity of ID cards accepted by the
Rep. Tom Tancredo,
Colorado Republican and
caucus chairman, called
Mexico's delivery of nearly a
million "matricula consular
cards" to its citizens in the
United States, many of whom
are here illegally, "extremely
important for reasons of
"We need to stop attempts
by Mexico to obtain locally
what they could not get from
the Congress; that is
amnesty," Mr. Tancredo said
at a press conference.
"Specifically, I am referring to efforts by the Mexican
government to use their consular offices in the United
States to encourage the violation of U.S. federal law."
Mr. Tancredo said Mexico's 47 consular offices
were "actively lobbying state and local governments"
to accept the identification cards, which are being
used by Mexican nationals to apply for social
services, open bank accounts, cash checks, sign
lease and rental agreements, board airplanes and as
identification for police agencies.
"This is a card with no use except by those living
illegally in the United States," Mr. Tancredo said. "It
should not be accepted as proof of identification by
state, local or federal agencies."
Earlier this month, Mr. Tancredo and 11 other
House Republicans in a letter to Secretary of State
Colin L. Powell questioned the propriety of the cards,
describing them as an "issue of enormous
significance that has massive implications for the
The lawmakers said that while national
identification cards were nothing new, providing them
with the "express purpose of evading U.S. law was
something entirely different."
"The active lobbying of local and state
governments by consuls of foreign countries is, at
least, a breach of international protocol deserving of a
serious response by our government," the letter said.
In addition to Mr. Tancredo, the letter was signed
by Republican Reps. John T. Doolittle and Dana
Rohrabacher of California; Nathan Deal and Charlie
Norwood of Georgia; Todd Akin of Missouri; Walter
B. Jones Jr. of North Carolina; John Sullivan of
Oklahoma; Sam Johnson and Lamar Smith of Texas;
and Jo Ann Davis and Virgil H. Goode Jr. of Virginia.
Mexico began a coordinated program of issuing
identification cards to Mexican nationals in the United
States shortly after the September 11 attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The terrorist
strikes had derailed a Bush administration proposal
for amnesty to the 3 million to 5 million Mexican
nationals who are in this country illegally.
Mexican President Vicente Fox has overseen a
lobbying campaign by his government to persuade
U.S. mayors, police chiefs and bank presidents to
accept the cards as legal identification. Hundreds of
state and local governments, along with 798 police
agencies and 74 banks, now accept the cards.
Guatemala, Honduras, Poland, Peru and El
Salvador have since begun or are considering issuing
identification cards of their own for their citizens now
in the United States, based on the success of the
A report Tuesday by the Washington-based Center
for Immigration Studies (CIS) said the Mexican
government had undertaken an aggressive
grass-roots lobbying campaign to win acceptance of
the cards, especially in areas where Mexican illegal
aliens are concentrated.
CIS, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization
that supports scaling back immigration levels to the
United States, said in a report that Mexico's objective
was to achieve quasi-legal status for Mexican
nationals illegally in this country without waiting for the
now-stalled amnesty legislation.
The report also said the card was useful only for
illegal aliens, because legal immigrants have U.S.
government-issued documents, and that safeguards
were not in place to prevent the fraudulent issuance of
The cards, which cost $29, are valid for five years.
They can be obtained from any of the Mexican
consular offices in this country with a birth certificate,
ID photo and proof of U.S. residence.