ID Helps Mexicans Come Out Of The Shadows
From El Diario
The re-issuance of the consular matriculation card as a primary
form of identification to open bank accounts, announced yesterday
in New York, is the latest effort by the Mexican government to broaden
the benefits of millions of undocumented Mexican immigrants in this
country, but it has also received criticism from anti-immigrant
Starting today Mexican residents of the tri-state area of New York,
New Jersey and Connecticut will be able to process requests at the
Mexican consulate here in New York City to obtain this identification
in its new guise.
But beyond the change in appearance, delineated with new and more
rigorous security locks designed to prevent counterfeiting, the
new ID card will eventually, it is hoped, be used to obtain a driver's
"The ideal would be if the matriculation card could gain points
to obtain a driver's license in the tri-state area," said the
Mexican consul in New York, Salvador Beltran Rio.
The Mexican Consulate in New York added that the document is already
accepted at Citigroup to open bank accounts, and said that it is
holding "informal talks" with other banking entities,
such as Chase Bank and Banco Popular.
"The idea is to have this be the norm throughout the country,"
said Beltran del Rio, and indicated that at this point 20 banking
institutions already accept the matriculation card as a valid document
to open an account.
He added that other countries rely on these identification documents
and that the Guatemalan Consulate in New York will be amongst those
that will be issuing them soon.
"We are holding talks now with representatives from the Departments
of Transportation of the three states. It is to the benefit of all
parties that everyone should drive legally," stated the consul
at a press conference to present the new version of the matriculation
The Mexican government issues the personal identification document,
which resembles a credit card, to Mexicans outside the country through
its network of consulates, 48 of which are in the United States.
The requirements to obtain a five-year matriculation card are proof
of Mexican nationality (birth certificate or passport), proof of
address (electric or telephone bill), a photograph and a $29 fee.
Although the current matriculation card will continue to be valid,
"the new version is better in appearance, is bilingual and
is more secure," said Francisco Javier Olavarria, alternate
Mexican consul in New York.
The re-issuing of the new matriculation card comes within the context
of political and demographic changes in the United States, where
purchasing power and voting within the Latino population is increasing.
This campaign coincides with president George W. Bush's visit this
week to Mexico to meet with his Mexican counterpart, Vicente Fox,
to restart negotiations, which were stalled after the September
11th terrorist attacks, over the eventual legalization of millions
of undocumented Mexicans living in the United States.
The wider acceptance of these cards has upset some groups that
consider them a reward for illegal immigrants.
The matriculation cards are given to both legal and illegal immigrants,
if and when they have the supporting documents such as a birth certificate
or passport, and proof that they live within the jurisdiction of
"This is a document that will help them get practically everything
they want", said Barbara Coe, head of the California Coalition
for Immigration Reform.
Translated by Armando Reyes
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