Feb. 26, 2002 12:00:00

Sheriff to accept Mexican ID cards

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will accept a Mexican government document as valid personal identification.

The matrícula consular, or consular ID card, is available to Mexican citizens abroad. It identifies owners as registered with their nearest consulate and is traditionally used to get back into Mexico.

All 47 Mexican consulates in the United States are engaged in a lobbying campaign to get the cards accepted as valid ID. Phoenix police have accepted it since 1998. Now Sheriff Joe Arpaio also sees it as a good move.

"How do you book people in jail if you don't know who they are? It's a great program for identity purposes and will only help the safety of our county," Arpaio said.

The consular card has no bearing on the holder's U.S. immigration status.

- Hernán Rozemberg