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For illegal immigrants, new mobile ID service
christian science monitor ^ | Patrik Jonsson

Posted on 11/28/2002 2:33:59 PM PST by dennisw

from the November 29, 2002 edition

(Photograph)
LINING UP: Armando Ortiz Rocha (l.), Mexican consul for North and South Carolina, looks over a deputy's shoulder as hundreds of Mexican immigrants wait for matricula consular IDs in West Columbia, S.C.
PATRIK JONSSON

For illegal immigrants, new mobile ID service
Thriving beneath the radar and above the law, matricula consulars boost the privileges and status of illegal Mexicans.

 

 


| Special to The Christian Science Monitor
At El Rincon Vaquero trading post here in West Columbia, S.C., votive candles compete with cowboy hats and jars of dark mole for shelf space. The colorful shop is a slice of Mexico in the middle of a rundown neighborhood. But one day this month, El Rincon Vaquero became, through a bit of diplomatic magic, an actual outpost of Mexico.

In an aggressive - some say subversive - new gambit, the Mexican government is sending its deputies through the American countryside, setting up shop in strip malls and schools, and handing out new Mexican ID cards called matricula consulars for $29.

To the Mexicans and many of their US supporters, it's a way to get driver's licenses and other benefits. Some say it even helps US officials by keeping track of illegal immigrants. For local governments, the cards are a stopgap way to deal with growing Mexican communities.

But to critics, they're an attempt to legitimize illegal immigrants' presence, conferring the advantages of citizenship. It is, they say, a new blight on an immigration policy as tattered as an old piñata.

"This is like a ... creeping legalization," says Robert Leiken, director of the Immigration and National Security Program at Washington's Nixon Center.

On a recent Saturday, over 1,000 Mexicans arrive in busloads from across South Carolina, crowding into the back room at the El Rincon Vaquero, clutching paperwork and Spanish-language car magazines. Several hundred are turned away: There just aren't enough forms to go around.

Still, "At least for a day, this is Mexican territory," says Irma Santana, a Hispanic outreach worker here.

Legal, portable, and on the rise

The scene unfolds weekly from Illinois to Georgia, as schools and strip malls morph into consular safehouses where Mexicans can be "normalized" - if not naturalized - into the US. And despite the six patrol cars here in West Columbia, drawn by neighbors' complaints about the crowd, it's widely assumed that the INS is stretched too thin to attempt a raid.

"We're safe here, or else nobody would come," says Edren Saenz, a contractor from Greenville, S.C., who's teaching himself English by watching TV and skimming a dictionary nightly.

The mobile Mexican consul is so new that some INS officials haven't heard of it. Launched in 1999, it's picked up speed since 9/11. While State Department officials are dubious that the consul can technically establish Mexican soil in random US locations, nobody doubts the cards' legality: To the INS, handing them out is the right of any government.

"When it comes to the matricula cards, we don't have a dog in that fight," says Dan Kane, an INS spokesman in Washington.

Some insist it's the cards' open acceptance that's enabling the "subversion" of US law. A growing number of banks, for instance, welcome matriculas as a way to establish checking accounts - which makes it easy for relatives back in Mexico to access accounts through ATMs.

"If US interests weren't accepting these cards, nobody would be lining up to get them," says Steven Camarato, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington.

An alternative to amnesty

While legalization is not the Mexican consul's stated aim, some say it's the implicit goal. Plans for amnesty for several million US illegals - which Mexico President Vicente Fox had lobbied for before 9/11 - don't seem politically feasible at the moment. But many see matriculas as the next best thing. The mobile consulate is part of Mr. Fox's bold attempt to help Mexicans in the US - and tap into a lobbying network that's quietly changing attitudes toward illegal immigrants.

Though they contribute less than two percent to the GDP, illegal Mexicans prop up parts of the American economy. Many farmers, contractors, factory owners, and homeowners wink at their services, and matricula cards are evidence that such attitudes are spilling into American officialdom.

"The basic thing ... is an attempt by the Mexican government to try to be useful to its citizens in the United States, but in particular it's an attempt to be useful to those in the US illegally," says Mr. Camarato.

'This is about the safety of our citizens'

For Deputy Consul Carlos Isunza, the roadshow is a legal way to serve Mexicans - and one that has taken on new aspects since 9/11. It's also for safety: With cards in hand, Mexicans feel more comfortable about reporting crimes. "This is not about immigration," he says. "This is about the safety of our citizens." And states that allow Mexicans with matriculas to get drivers' licenses, for instance, may improve road safety.

But while few people see illegal Mexicans as a threat to national security, the ease with which they move through American society is a concern, says Mr. Leiken, author of "The Melting Border," a book about US-Mexican immigration.

"There is a security problem associated with having a large population of illegal immigrants, in that it creates a market for fraudulent documents," he says. "And we saw the result of that on 9/11, when some of the terrorists obtained their papers through Salvadoran illegals."

What's more, critics fear that the Mexican government's new practices in the US will open the door for other governments to take a larger role in the lives of expatriates living here illegally. Right now, the Guatemalan government is preparing its own version of the matricula consular.

"Next we may see the Chinese and Egyptian governments doing the same thing," says Mr. Camarato. "If you're a patsy, people beat up on you, and that's what's happening right now to the US."



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Free Republic; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: consular; matricula

1 posted on 11/28/2002 2:33:59 PM PST by dennisw
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To: dennisw
And so America died, not with a bang, but with a whimper, as its brainwashed citizens were too afraid of being called names to speak up in defense of their sovereignty.
2 posted on 11/28/2002 2:49:07 PM PST by Godel
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To: dennisw

George Bush's legacy
3 posted on 11/28/2002 3:14:23 PM PST by spycatcher
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To: dennisw; PoisedWoman; madfly; Sabertooth; FreedomFriend; Drill Alaska
sickening.
4 posted on 11/28/2002 3:25:25 PM PST by I_Love_My_Husband
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To: dennisw
What's next, an informacion kiosk in the desert? Drink cart coming by periodically? Maps of the stars' homes?

How much are we going to pander to people who are breaking the law just by being here?

5 posted on 11/28/2002 3:27:41 PM PST by IronJack
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To: IronJack
¿Cuánto vamos al alcahuete a la gente que son romper la ley apenas por está aquí?

No mucho más largo. Ellos cambiarán la ley.

6 posted on 11/28/2002 5:06:49 PM PST by secretagent
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To: Godel; dennisw
"If you're a patsy, people beat up on you..."

Ain't that the truth. The patriots that fought and died for the independence of this great Nation would be wondering why the hell they bothered, if they could see what was going on now.

7 posted on 11/28/2002 5:33:43 PM PST by 4Freedom
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To: secretagent
No mucho más largo. Ellos cambiarán la ley.

Cuando? No puede ser pronto suficiente para mí.

8 posted on 11/28/2002 5:50:46 PM PST by IronJack
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To: IronJack; secretagent
Jack, Secret's not suggesting a law change that would send the illegal aliens back home, so that they're no longer pandered to.

Secret is suggesting the law be changed, so that the illegals are no longer considered illegal. That way they all remain within our borders legally and the pandering can continue forever.

Isn't that true, Secret?

9 posted on 11/28/2002 6:28:44 PM PST by 4Freedom
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To: IronJack; 4Freedom
I've got to stop this, because I'll quickly get lost. I don't speak spanish and and tried to get funny by using a translation program.

I meant to convey that the illegals will gain enough power to change the law. I don't approve, but that looks like the trend.

10 posted on 11/28/2002 7:27:54 PM PST by secretagent
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To: dennisw
Here in Kalifornia, the illegals would travel to San Francisco to the Mexican counsulate to line up for these new matricula. They each paid their $29.00, and all they did was show some sort of birth certificate and take a picture. No way to check who they were or where they came from! These cards are worthless, and cannot be used to obtain a valid drivers license, though they tried.
But, the Mexican government has be raking in millions!
This is insanity, and where the hell is homeland security?
INS should have had a field day in quotas with this!!!
Unfriggenbelivable!
11 posted on 11/28/2002 10:53:25 PM PST by Terridan
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To: secretagent
Please, I will be happy to transulate for you! ;)
12 posted on 11/28/2002 10:54:33 PM PST by Terridan
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To: dennisw
Some say it (Mexican ID cards) even helps US officials by keeping track of illegal immigrants.

Keeping track of illegal immigrants? I thought U.S. officials were supposed to round up illegal aliens and deport them.

13 posted on 11/29/2002 12:10:19 AM PST by judgeandjury
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To: dennisw
IMMIGRATION ISSUES
American Patrol.com
The Stein Report
Center for Immigration Studies
Numbers USA
California Coalition for Immigration Reform
Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform
CensusScope.org
"Immigrants, Not Americans, Must Adapt"


14 posted on 11/29/2002 2:02:42 AM PST by Cindy
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To: dennisw
This is too crazy! What is going to happen when the takers out-number the givers in this country? At this rate it's going to happen very quickly.
15 posted on 11/29/2002 2:17:33 AM PST by DBtoo
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To: secretagent; IronJack
"I meant to convey that the illegals will gain enough power to change the law."

That appears to be a pretty safe bet with the RINOs in the White House and in control of Congress.

16 posted on 11/29/2002 2:46:32 AM PST by 4Freedom
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To: Terridan
"Unfrigginbelivable."

No, unfriggenforgiveable!

17 posted on 11/29/2002 2:49:04 AM PST by 4Freedom
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To: dennisw; All
Just why did the Government close Ellis Island and DROP the gates???????

This is TOO MUCH!!!

Think what ALL the immigrants that came to this country and entered thru Ellis Island must be thinking. This is not fair no matter how you look at it.

18 posted on 11/29/2002 5:53:45 AM PST by SCDogPapa
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: Terridan
Thanks!

I don't have a need for a translator usually, but I'll flag you If i need to.

20 posted on 11/29/2002 8:17:35 AM PST by secretagent
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To: 4Freedom
That appears to be a pretty safe bet with the RINOs in the White House and in control of Congress.

I think the Republicans will survive as a party, that is a party with the name "Republican", only by going along with the Democrats and conceding to them the morality of ever increasing government programs. Thus Republicans reiterate the sacredness of Social Security, government education, Medicare, and so on without end.

Apparently Republicans can't say anything about the illegals, unless Democrats give them permission.

21 posted on 11/29/2002 8:52:37 AM PST by secretagent
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To: spycatcher
We took back the Senate...

Now let's take back the White House.

22 posted on 11/29/2002 4:27:24 PM PST by dagnabbit
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To: dennisw
In an aggressive - some say subversive - new gambit, the Mexican government is sending its deputies through the American countryside, setting up shop in strip malls and schools, and handing out new Mexican ID cards called matricula consulars for $29.

Flyover country!! Welcome to the government sponsored, immigration lunacy.

23 posted on 11/29/2002 4:32:14 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf
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To: secretagent
Any time I can help a fellow freeper!!!
24 posted on 11/29/2002 6:42:11 PM PST by Terridan
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Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: dennisw
Very interesting
26 posted on 11/30/2002 2:05:28 PM PST by Polly
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To: dennisw
More of Presidente WHORE-je's unspoken agenda to 3rd-Worldize our Nation, and be rid of the unnecessary and had-it-too-good-for-too-long Middle Class.

Just doin what his Rockefeller/Globali$t bo$$e$ tell him to do.

27 posted on 11/30/2002 2:44:58 PM PST by CIBvet
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To: dennisw
I wonder if the Mexican government even uses these cards for ID purposes back in Mexico or if they're just meant for our benefit? They use those voter's identification cards that have a picture ID in Mexico so I doubt they need or use the matricula card in addition to that.
28 posted on 12/01/2002 4:46:00 PM PST by FITZ
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To: Terridan
Maybe the Mexican government is trying to get a head count and addresses on it's citizens in the US because they want to figure out how to get their hands on more of their money? I know some illegals aren't bothering to get their matricula cards precisely because they don't trust that government ---they remember what happened to the money that was for the Braceros' retirement. It just disappeared and it was Mexican banks and government that could have taken it all.
29 posted on 12/01/2002 4:49:58 PM PST by FITZ
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To: FITZ
These sham IDs, matricula consular, are for the stupid gringo only. A sop to him to make him feel better about the invasion of America by illegal alien Mexicans. To the best of my knowledge they are of use only in the USA. If they are used in Mexico I haven't heard about it.
30 posted on 12/01/2002 6:28:19 PM PST by dennisw
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To: Godel
South Boston is soon to experience a powerful political force: satire. Smart alecs unite! We need every clown, every wisemheimer, every irritating person we can find to help us!

Here are our first demands:

Illegal Immigrants.... We Must Help Them!
Ban Privacy! Make All Privacy and All Clothing illegal!

Join our Sheepish Cause

31 posted on 12/01/2002 6:32:00 PM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March
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To: dennisw
They have even established their own underground suedo union, they are now demanding $15/hour to work in San Diego County from what I understand.

I won't work with them or hire them, they are useless as tits on a boar hog even if you only paid them $2/hour, besides I wouldn't hire an illegal at any cost.

The INS should have a fleet of buses at every place their roving counsel sets up, round them up and deport them.
32 posted on 12/01/2002 6:41:46 PM PST by dalereed
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To: dennisw
These sham IDs, matricula consular, are for the stupid gringo only.

I think so too ---I don't think they're used in Mexico for anything at all, it seems that Fox is trying to dictate our immigration policies, and he's trying to say he will decide who can and who can't come into the US by these cards. If illegals want to pay $29 for a useless card it's fine with me ---but that's all they should be here is useless. If banks wanted to accept the usual Mexican ID cards like their voter ID cards it's their business I guess ----but these cards seem to be all about something else. If I was an illegal, I wouldn't be giving out my address. It may be the Mexican government's way of trying to get control over it's citizens after they've left.

33 posted on 12/01/2002 7:24:49 PM PST by FITZ
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To: dennisw
This is a scarier picture than Dawn of the Dead!

At some point, citizens won't react to all this?

That is so in American's faces.
34 posted on 12/01/2002 7:26:53 PM PST by A CA Guy
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To: Drill Alaska
Uhhhh.....

That only shows where there are Hispanics. That does not equate to "illegal alien." The majority of hispanics are legally here, productive memebers of society.

But, of course, xenophobia is an american tradition dating back to at least the 1850's with the Irish and the Italians. Seems to me that those groups turned out okay.

35 posted on 12/01/2002 7:48:34 PM PST by jude24
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