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By Geoff Metcalf

July 22, 2002

A recent Washington Times story outlined the details of a Mexican identification card used chiefly by illegal immigrants that is being accepted by a growing number of U.S. banks and cities.  What is wrong with this picture?

It is not racist to object to “illegals”…notwithstanding the protestations of those who continue to defend the indefensible. 

Despite the cries of Vincente Fox, and the gaggle of Hispanic civil rights groups, the operative word in the definition is, always was, and will remain “ILLEGAL”.

Illegal aliens are lawbreakers.  Sure it is a chump change law but a law nevertheless…with significant consequences.  For the United States to continue to reward lawbreakers is myopic, expensive, stupid, and criminal.

The so called “matricula consula” card is used primarily by illegals.  However, apparently there is no law, regulation or guidance to prevent cities or banks from using it as a means of identification.

Bill Strassberger, at INS said, "It's strictly an identification document.  If banks choose to accept it, that does not make it an immigration matter."

This practice of wink-wink/nod-nod is a classic personification of corporate greed.  Banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citibank see an opportunity to handle over $60-Billion and have started accepting the ‘matricula consula” as ID.

Meanwhile, major cities such as “Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, have followed by accepting the ID for use in city business such as borrowing books from libraries, entering municipal buildings and minor scrapes with the police.”

EXCUSE ME?!?!?  This should be a no brainer.  If a would be bank customer or municipal service recipient uses a ‘matricula consula’ instead of a valid state drivers license or birth certificate do think that ‘maybe’ that might be a clue they are here illegally and at least ‘someone’ should check????

The Mexican consul general in LA is Jonesing over the ‘success’ of the program. "This program has gone completely beyond my expectations," said Martha Lara, who lobbied U.S. officials for its acceptance.

Just in LA they crank out 15,000 of these cards each month.  Thousands more are issued by the other 47 Mexican consulates in the U.S.

It is common knowledge these cardholders are in all probability in the United States illegally.  If they had a U.S. residence they could get American-issued identification, such as a driver's license.

In addition to the banks there is wide coalition supporting the use of the cards.      

*    Police forces reportedly are happy to have a reliable ID for noncitizens.

*    Hispanic civil rights groups are jazzed.  

*    The Mexican government, “mindful of the close attention being paid    to immigrants since the September 11 terrorist attacks, has pushed the card as a way to protect its citizens.”  

However, I am not the Lone Ranger criticizing these things.

*    Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington noted, "It makes life easier for illegal immigrants. 

*    That compromises law enforcement and security. 

*    It's a creeping amnesty that incorporates illegal aliens into our institutions.

*    It may let banks get their hands on over $60-Billion, but it will cost taxpayers a lot more.

Banks aren’t just allowing illegals to open checking accounts. 

*    In addition to accepting the matricula, Bank of America has invested $40 million in a Spanish-language advertising campaign.

*    B of A also offers a service that allows customers to send money to Mexico.  

*    Wells Fargo, which in November became the first bank in the nation to accept the ID, has used the card to open 35,000 checking accounts that now hold about $50 million in deposits.

The card, with a taxpayer identification number — an Internal Revenue Service number available to noncitizens — is enough to open an account. The fact that most of the applicants are in the United States illegally does not matter…but it should.

Austin, Texas Assistant Police Chief Rudy Landeros said, "We are focused on public safety, not immigration. Our job is to protect and serve, regardless of immigration status."  Hey Rudy, loosen your hat…immigration DOES impact on public safety.

When Wells Fargo announced last November the card would be valid ID at all bank locations in 23 states, other banks (apparently fearing a competitor might get a taste of business denied them) jumped into the arena.  "Three hours later, faxes were rolling into my office [from banks] saying they would accept it too," Mrs. Lara said.

This is nuts!  Reward illegal aliens for illegal residency.  I have heard from hundreds of LEGAL Mexican immigrants who are not racist, prejudiced, or uncompassionate who are frankly p.o.-ed.

You may want to inquire with your bank and city government to determine what position they have on these ID cards for illegals.  Then make your consumer and voter decisions appropriately…or not.

© 2002 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers.  A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication.