The Treasury Department on April 30 published rules endorsing the acceptance of Mexicos matricula consular card as legal identification at U.S. banks.
Mexican consulates in the United States distribute the card to Mexican nationals here, whether they are legally or illegally in this country.
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.), chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, told HUMAN EVENTS last week he had seen a draft document from the Homeland Security Department recommending the rejection of the matricula. "Apparently, there is division within the administration on this," he said. "We want to get President Bushs attention. We would like him to issue an executive order forbidding the federal government from endorsing the matricula."
The caucus held a press conference on May 22 asking for such action and announcing the introduction of a bill to prevent the Treasury regulations from being adopted. They are set to go into effect May 30 and would officially approve of U.S. banks acceptance of the matricula as a valid form of identification, as some banks such as Bank of America and Wachovia have already done.
Not only would the acceptance of the matricula encourage illegal immigration, said Tancredo, it could pose a national security threat. "If Mexico can do this, why not other countries?" he asked. "Why wouldnt Syria and Sudan issue their own cards?" Tancredo is working with Rep. Elton Gallegly (R.-Calif.) to get the Identification Integrity Act (HR 687) passed, which would prevent the federal government from accepting the matricula.
El Salvador, Honduras, Poland, and China are already considering their own cards, said Mark Kirkorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). He said that the matricula is an insecure form of ID. "The authorities have found in many instances people with multiple copies of the card with different names but the same picture," he said. "They are often distributed by mobile vans. There is no verification of the information. It is not illegal for a person in the United States to lie to get one of these cards."
Kirkorian noted that all foreign persons living legally in the United States already have official forms of identification, such as passports or green cards. But even if the federal government decides not to accept the matricula, states and localities could still do it.
Tancredo said approximately 600 police departments around the country have decided to accept the matricula. Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland already take the card.