Memo From Mexico | Good News And Bad News On The Matricula Consular


My November 2001 VDARE.Com article on the Mexican consular card – the ” matricula consular” – was one of the first on the Mexican government`s outrageous campaign to subvert American immigration law by promoting the acceptance of this form of ID for its citizens illegally in the U.S.

Eighteen months later, there is both good news and bad news.

The good news: more Americans are becoming aware of the card, a lot more material has been written on it, and things are being done, both politically and legally, to combat it. Some local governments have actually been brave enough to reject it.

The bad news: the matricula consular is marching forward, accepted in city after city, aggressively promoted by the Mexican government and its brazen consulate officials. Other countries have followed suit and are issuing their own cards.

The Bush Administration, of course, has done nothing.

At the rate things are going, someday every country in the world will be issuing its own ID card. Only American citizens will have to worry about being stopped by the cops!

In the midst of a lot of misleading rhetoric floating around, it`s important to make several points crystal clear.

* What It Is—What It Isn`t.

The matricula consular is not a Mexican passport. Mexican passports are obtained here in Mexico, before a legal Mexican border-crosser goes to the U.S. A matricula consular is issued in Mexican consulates in the U.S. specifically to Mexicans who are already in the U.S.

In other words, Mexicans who legally enter the U.S. and have all their papers in order (like my wife, for example) have no need of a matricula consular. And here in Mexico, most banks don`t even accept it! That should tell you something. Nearly all the applicants for the matricula consular are illegal aliens.

That`s why the courageous congressman Tom Tancredo contacted immigration authorities asking them to detain illegal aliens lined up in front of Mexico`s Denver consulate for their consular cards.

Nothing was done of course. Nowadays, the burden of proof is on those who want our immigration laws enforced, not on those who flout them.

Mexican officials are working hard to issue as many of the matricula cards as possible, even going so far as sending “mobile consulates” to remote regions not yet blessed with a Mexican consulate. When a local government is debating whether or not to accept them, a Mexican consul arrives, with illegal aliens in tow, to make the case for it. The locals (with courageous exceptions) usually cave in and accept it. One such local official stated that, although he had planned to vote no, when he saw the faces of those illegal aliens, he changed his mind and voted yes.

The Mexican government is utilizing the matricula consular to subvert U.S. immigration policy. As usual, they have plenty of collaborators among U.S. officials throughout the land.

* Lame Justifications

All sorts of lame justifications are given by the defenders of the cards.

It`s been called a matter of public safety. It`s been said that the cards give “dignity” to illegal aliens. An editorial in the Indianapolis Star (Feb. 10th, 2003) reassured us that “The Mexican ID card is not a threat to national security, but a tool for facilitating communication.” It went on to attack those who question the matricula: “Concern that Mexican ID cards issued by the Indianapolis consulate pose a threat to national security should be dismissed for what it is: prejudice against Mexican immigrants.”

Fall into line, in other words, or be branded a racist.

How many times have we heard this tired excuse for an argument?

Another common justification: the pseudo-humanitarian argument that the card makes the lives of (illegal) immigrants easier.

Well, here in Mexico, where I live and work, there is no political constituency for making my life easier. And I`m here legally.

Matricula Consular defenders even have the gall to argue that the cards are secure. But all the applicant has to do is show up at the consulate, show a Mexican birth certificate, pay the money and get the card. An INS deputy director reported last year that “One guy we arrested recently had three different matriculas with three different names. It was his picture, issued through the consulate.” (Denver Post, Oct. 10th, 2002).

In other words, the matricula consular functions pretty much like the “Get Out Of Jail Free” card in the “Monopoly” game. But at least in Monopoly, the card is an authorized part of the rules. The matricula consular is an unauthorized foreign document worming its way successfully into our legal system.

* The Matricula Consular And The Rule Of Law

The acceptance of the matricula consular by U.S. local authorities is inconsistent with the rule of law and American sovereignty. Furthermore, its promoters utilize a disturbing form of “mobocracy,” something the Founding Fathers wanted to avoid at all costs. Mexican consuls do this by bringing illegal aliens to policy meetings discussing the cards.

Consider, for example, how the cards` promotion has affected the rule of law in the city of Waukegan, Illinois. (Chicago Tribune, Sept. 15th, 2002, “Hispanics are flexing their political muscle” Pay archive). There, several aldermen opposed the acceptance of the matricula consular. How did the pro-matricular forces (which included a Mexican consul) deal with it?

“The Hispanic community rallied 1,000-strong outside City Hall, chanting and waving signs that read, `Stop the Racism`….that Aug. 19th protest ….ended with the mayor ordering police to accept the cards as valid identification…. “

[Send Waukegan Mayor Richard H. Hyde email at mayor@ci.waukegan.il.us]

(The aldermen didn`t even get to vote on the question, by the way).

* The Matricula Consular And Deception

As surrealistic as it is, you still hear defenders of the cards say they have nothing to do with immigration!

According to Maria Elena Salinas, Jorge Ramos` co-anchor on the Spanish-language TV network Univision: “…it is not an illegal-alien ID card…”

Roberto Rodriguez, director general of the Bureau for Protection and Consular Services The consular ID`s purpose is to provide identification for nationals. It has nothing to do with immigration.”

Mexico`s Deputy Consul for North and South Carolina: “This is not about immigration…This is about the safety of our citizens.”

(Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 29th, 2002, “For illegal immigrants, new mobile ID service”

Well, they`re propagandists and diplomats, what do you expect?

But the Mexican media is a little more truthful:

“The frequent deportation of Mexicans for lack of an ID card can become a thing of the past, with the approval of an initiative that proposes the acceptance of the matricula consular (issued by the Mexican government through its consulates in the entire country), as an official identification document for police authorities when they detain or intercept Mexicans.”

(Monica Solis, the “Siglo,” November 5th, 2001).

Mexican pundit Sergio Aguayo Quezada wrote of “….the matricula consular, an ID with photo that our consulates present to Mexican illegal aliens in the United States.” (“México-Estados Unidos: El costo de disentir“, Feb. 19th, 2003, Reforma, Sergio Aguayo Qezada

“…la Matrícula Consular, una credencial con foto que nuestros consulados entregan a mexicanos indocumentados en Estados Unidos.”)

Commentator Rafael Fernández de Castro (director of the Foreign Affair`s Spanish edition) wrote that the “matriculas…permitted a great number of Mexicans living without documents in the United States improve their situation.”

(Reforma Rafael Fernández de Castro, “Costos y Beneficios Del Voto En La ONU,” March 3rd, 2003

“matrículas, lo cual permitió a un elevado numero de mexicanos que viven sin documentos en Estados Unidos mejora su situación…”)

A “Reforma” headline plainly calls the matricula consular a “beneficio para indocumentados”–a “benefit for illegal aliens”.

(Promueven beneficio para indocumentados, Sept. 8th, 2002)

Then there are the recent statements by Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez. Visiting Washington on May 7th, 2003, he outlined the Mexican government`s incremental approach to achieving the equivalent of a migration accord. This strategy involves Mexican consulate activism (meddling) in favor of driver`s licenses, in-state tuition and matricula consular cards for illegal aliens.

And Derbez added “We are following very closely debates at the local level.” Ain`t that the truth?

(Mexico Seeks Higher Profile For Issue Of Immigrants, May 8th, 2003, Copley News Service).

* The Real Problem and the Real Solution

Does the Mexican government have the right to issue cards to its nationals living in the U.S.? Of course it does.

The real problem is that U.S. local governments are accepting these cards. They are, in effect, allowing Mexico to control our immigration policy, telling us Mexican illegal aliens cannot be deported. It`s outrageous.

The real solution is more cooperation between U.S. immigration authorities and law enforcement. It`s authorized, it`s feasible, and it`s the way things ought to be.

And that is the real fear of the Mexican government–that U.S. law enforcement would be enabled to enforce immigration law.

This was made clear in a strategy meeting in Sacramento, California, reported in La Opinion, June 4th, 2002, in which five Latino California state legislators met in the state capitol with five Mexican consuls general based in California. (Consider that—American, make that “American,” legislators planning common strategy with Mexican diplomats!) The meeting`s agenda included driver`s licenses for illegals and the matricula consular.

Gustavo Mohr, a representative of the SRE – Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Relations – addressed the meeting on the importance of a bilateral migratory accord. He criticized the proposal that local police in the U.S. enforce immigration law–a proposal which Mohr termed “worrying”.

Exactly! It certainly is “worrying” to the Mexican government and the open borders crowd that U.S. police officers could actually enforce immigration law.

It might mean that the sleeping giant was waking, and about to brush his Lilliputian would-be captors away.

American citizen Allan Wall lives and works legally in Mexico, where he holds an FM-2 residency and work permit, but serves six weeks a year with the Texas Army National Guard, in a unit composed almost entirely of Americans of Mexican ancestry.  His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his FRONTPAGEMAG.COM articles are archived here; his website is here. Readers can contact Allan Wall at allan39@prodigy.net.mx.