Tucson accepts sham IDs from foreign criminals

http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/local/9_10_02mex_id.html

Tucson accepts new ID card for Mexicans

It will help immigrants here with such tasks as opening bank accounts and applying for health and auto insurance.

ERIC SAGARA
Tucson Citizen
Sept. 10, 2002

Guest worker plan still delayed by 9-11 fallout

Tucson is the second major city in Arizona to recognize the relatively new identification card provided by the Mexican Consulate to that country's citizens living here.

Phoenix police and banks already recognized the matricula consular, which is about the size of a credit card.

The card, issued after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was championed here yesterday by members of the Pima County Interfaith Council, who accompanied about 100 Mexican immigrants to last night's Tucson City Council meeting.

The council voted 7-0 yesterday to approve use of the card, a photo ID that can be used to prove identity and also help the bearer open a bank account, for instance.

It cannot be used in Tucson to apply for a drivers license.

The $29 card does not indicate the person's immigration status.

The card program is the result of lobbying by 47 Mexican consulates in the United States.

Ward 6 City Councilman Fred Ronstadt said before the meeting last night he hopes the decision to recognize the matricula consular as an official form of identification for Mexicans in Tucson will help ease life for them here.

"Mexican nationals were getting ripped off and they needed IDs to deal with the banks and services," Ronstadt said.

The cards are issued by the Mexican Consulate in the jurisdiction where the immigrant lives, and they can help citizens of Mexico apply for health and auto insurance in the United States, according to Interfaith Council officials.

"Any kind of business that requires an ID, this is going to help," said Raymond Rodriguez, an Interfaith Council leader from Santa Cruz Catholic Church.

The ID card also will assist the businesses and institutions that serve Mexicans.

"I think this is going to help their process as well because they have a consistent and standard identification," Rodriguez said.

California, New Mexico and Texas recognize the Mexican ID card.

Rodriguez said the City Council's decision is a big step toward making Tucson an "immigrant-friendly" city.

Ronstadt said Tucson has always been immigrant-friendly.

"If they are legal immigrants then we are always friendly," Ronstadt said. "If they are illegal, then they are breaking the law and will be run through the process."

He said he obtained assurances from the Mexican Consulate that it would vouch for cardholders.

The card can be obtained from the consulate by applicants who present a birth certificate, photo identification, Mexican passport, voting or military card.

They must also be able to prove they have been living in the consulate's jurisdiction.

"It's for people that are rooted in their community and have an investment in their community," Rodriguez said. "Most of these people have established families. It's not necessarily for the new arrivals."

Tucson Police and Pima County Sheriff's departments have accepted the card as identification.

"It will help them to obtain the basic services, to protect the dignity of immigrants, both those with documents and those without," said Interfaith Council representative Mireya Gomez.