Thursday, April 28, 2005

Arizona Takes a Stand Against Mexican IDs

The Arizona legislature appears poised to finally take a definitive stand in defense of US territorial sovereignty and Arizona state fiscal sanity.
The credit card-size ID issued to more than 102,000 Mexicans living in Arizona soon could be useless for public business such as getting water service, library cards or help from community health centers.

The Legislature is expected to send Gov. Janet Napolitano as early as today a measure banning cities, towns and state government from accepting the Mexican ID cards issued by the Mexican Consulate as valid identification.

Known as matricula consular and considered to be evidence of Mexican nationality, the card is the latest legislative tool in the thorny battle over illegal immigration and Arizona's security. It has become an essential part of the daily routine for increasing numbers of Arizonans, primarily undocumented immigrants who can't get an Arizona-issued ID card. Many say they could not get by without it.
The matricula consular cards represent nothing less than promotion of illegal immigration to the US by the Mexican government. With an estimated six million Mexicans currently residing illegally in the US and over a million people illegally crossing the US-Mexico border every year, the role of the Mexican government in not only tolerating the abuse of US law, but actually promoting it, can only be seen as a profoundly hostile act.

Worse for Americans, the maticula consular cards constitute a serious breach of US security, which given the events of September 11, 2001, should be (but apparently isn't) unacceptable to US officials in Washington.
But critics say the cards pose a danger to national security because the information and identities on them may be false. They say terrorists could use the cards to establish themselves in the United States and acquire the services they need to live here until they could carry out an attack.

"The consular cards are notoriously unreliable," said Republican Sen. Dean Martin of Phoenix, who championed the bill.
Despite the Arizona legislature's efforts, however, the matricula consular cards are expected to remain popular among illegals because US business have come to accept them.
Despite the Legislature's push to restrict the use of the matricula, immigrants such as 32-year-old María Rabadan and 31-year-old Antonio Chavarria are jamming the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix seeking the ID card. Expecting her third child, Rabadan walked to the consulate this week to get an ID card she will use for doctor's visits and government transactions she will make as she settles in this country.

The two said the plastic card is the only legal document they carry as proof of identity. They use it for everything from getting water service and paying traffic tickets to opening bank accounts and traveling to Mexico.

The cards have become so widely accepted by the business community in Arizona that their widespread use is expected to continue even if the legislation passes. Bank of America and Wells Fargo are among the private businesses accepting the matricula card. Since November 2001, Wells Fargo has opened accounts for more than 500,000 Mexicans in 23 states, including Arizona, officials said.

Accepting the matricula has allowed thousands of Mexicans to move "from a risky cash economy to secured and reliable financial services," said Marilyn Taylor of Wells Fargo.

"We're making it easier, cheaper and secured for them to manage their money," said Taylor, adding that the matricula card is good enough for the company because it has a photo, an expiration date and a brief description of the holder, among other features.
Of course, Arizona's business community accepts these cards because there are so many illegal aliens living in Arizona that failing to accept the cards would cut the businesses out of a lucrative market. That alone should be a warning sign to Americans. The illegal population has reached such a level that it will eventually move beyond the ability of state governments to effectively control and govern. The US government should move quickly to ban the matricula consular cards and punish any US business that accepts them. The US government should also take strong measures to force the Mexican government to abandon the matricula consular cards and control its side of the border. Unfortunately for Americans, the Bush administration and the GOP leadership in Congress has no intention of doing anything of the sort. George Bush's GOP is willing to sit by and watch US territorial integrity disappear, American national security decline, and America's unique culture be destroyed.

Update: While Arizona tries to protect US law and sovereignty, Illinois is apparently about to move in the other direction.
A bill already approved in the Illinois senate by an overwhelming majority would make the document an official form of identification in Illinois.

Senator Martin Sandoval, (D) 12th district, said, “This bill isn't anything about immigration at all. Bill 1623 is all about law enforcement and national security.”
Mr. Sandoval must think Americans awfully stupid to even try such a blatant denial of the obvious intentions behind the bill. Apparently guaranteeing the free passage of millions of more illegal immigrants from Mexico is much more important to Mr. Sandoval than enforcing US law, or protecting the lives of American citizens. It makes one wonder exactly who Mr. Sandoval represents in the state senate and to which country he owes allegiance. Not everyone in Illinois shares Mr. Sandoval's enthusiasm undercutting American national security.
Senator Chris Lauzen from Aurora is an opponent of the bill. He said, “My concern with this legislation is that it gives a false sense of security, because it's a very official-looking document, yet certainly not reliable.”

More than 800 police agencies throughout the country accept the consular ID to identify people in their communities. Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and nine other states also accept the consular ID.

Deputy Consul General Aníbal Gómez said, “It is a document recognized by international practice, by international treaties, like the Vienna Convention of consular relations.”

The Mexican consulate in Chicago has issued about 400,000 consular IDs in the last ten years.

The consular ID cards bill is currently in the Illinois House where it is expected to be approved some time next month.

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