June 4, 2010

Mexico Opens Faux ID Supermarket in California, Claims Sanctuary in Church

Hatched by Dafydd

No, this is not a rib.

It appears that the Mexican government opened a storefront in the resort island of Catalina -- as in "twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin' for me" -- where they have been distributing "matricular consular identification cards" to Mexican nationals illegally in California:

The Mexican consular office in Los Angeles issued a flier, a copy of which was obtained by The Examiner, listing the Catalina Island Country Club as the location of its satellite office. It invites Mexicans to visit the office to obtain the identification, called matricular cards, by appointment.

What the heck is a matricular consular identification card? I'll let Sara A. Carter of the Washington Examiner explain:

The matricular consular identification card, is issued by the Mexican government to Mexican nationals residing outside the country, regardless of immigration status. The purpose is to provide identification for opening bank accounts and obtaining other services. But the cards are usually used to skirt U.S. immigration laws, since Mexicans in the country legally have documents proving that status, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

In 2004 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI officials called the card an unreliable form of identification. The agency said that Mexico lacks a centralized database for them, which could lead to forgery, duplication, and other forms of abuse.

Since Catalina Island is technically still part of California (we tried but failed to give it away to Aruba), there is ordinarily no border security or checkpoint or search or ID check when one travels there; if the passenger doesn't want to produce ID for a plane flight, he can fly there in his own plane or ask a friend to fly him. He can take a ferry, or a pleasant glass-bottomed boat ride. For that matter, he can sail his own sailboat, motor his own motorboat, or swim. It's a resort island, easy to travel to.

I seem to have drifted from my point, which is that any Mexican illegal immigrant can motivate himself to Catalina, head to the Catalina Island Country Club, and get what looks like a legal, legitimate resident's ID... but is in fact worth exactly nothing, as Mexico has no serious controls over who gets them, or how many duplicates of each card exist in the hands of other people -- including drug smugglers and potential terrorists.

For that matter, since there is no internal Border Patrol traveling from one American state to another, any illegal anywhere in the U.S. can drive to California (carefully skirting the Grand Canyon state), ferry to Catalina, and get his "ID card."

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) apparantly wanted to shut down this Mexican-government operation; however, Mexico has requested that it forbear:

Officers with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said their agency was asked by Mexican officials not to enforce U.S. immigration laws on the island while the cards were being issued.

"It amazes me every time that the Mexican government has the gall to tell us what to do," said an ICE official, who asked not to be named. "More surprisingly is how many times we stand by and let them. This is just an example of one of hundreds of requests we've had to deal with."

But in a late-breaking addendum, Mexico appears to be nervous about its chances; so it has shifted the location of the fraudulent ID handout operation away from the Catalina Island Country Club... into St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, also on Catalina.

It appears that Mexico lied to the country club, telling the club that it only wanted to set-up a "multi-cultural celebration;" when the country-club management discovered it was an ID shop instead, it rejected Mexico's request. But now, having shifted operations to a church, Mexico is trying to rely upon the same anti-border-enforcement "movement" that has led many cities in the United States to declare themselves "sanctuary cities" and order their police forces not to cooperate with ICE:

Mexican government officials have moved their satellite consular office from the Catalina Island Country Club to a Catholic Church -- citing protection under the Vienna Convention [the what?] -- after it was discovered that they did not have the appropriate paperwork to issue the island’s illegal immigrants identification cards.

I have no idea what "Vienna Convention" Ms. Carter means; I contacted her, but she did not respond by the time this post went to phosphor. So far as I know, there is no convention to which we are signatories that allows issuance of fraudulent IDs to illegal immigrants, so long as it's done on church property. (I have no way of knowing if Carter accurately reported what the government of Mexico argued; I wish she had responded.)

But I find the entire situation illuminating, to say the least. Mexico President Felipe Calderón just returned from the United States, where he chastised America for allowing Arizona to pass a law enforcing existing immigration law. In fact, California's own very, very moderate Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has grown in office (or perhaps in marriage), made it clear he likewise opposes Arizona's immigration law; and of course, several cities in California, including the enormity of Los Angeles, have voted to "boycott" Arizona, whatever that means.

Mexico cheerfully displayed its gratitude for such support: It picked the Golden State for its newest fake-ID boiler-room operation. With friends like these, who needs enemas?

As most of you know (and are infuriated by), I completely support comprehensive immigration reform... though I add the bizarre twist that it should include actual reform of the legal immigration system. I believe that a huge percent of illegals are only illegal because our system is arbitrary, unpredictable, and unjust.

But that does not compel me to support illegal immigration -- or "migration," as Mexico chillingly calls it, bringing to mind the mass movements of entire populations. Nor does my support for reform of legal immigration lead to support for a foreign government deliberately and with malice aforethought aiding and abetting the use of fraudulent IDs (even "matricular consular identification cards") to facilitate illegals hiding in the United States -- and even making it easier to obtain government subsidies and handouts, whether from hick towns too dumb to realize matricular cards are not actually valid IDs, or from putative "sanctuary cities" who know exactly what they're doing: conspiring with a foreign power to commit a felony against the United States.

ICE should round up some Israeli commandos and paintball guns and launch an immediate raid on the fake-ID supermarket, even if that means having to batter their way into a Catholic church. Or a mosque, if that's the next spot Mr. Calderón picks for his ongoing RICO operation.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 4, 2010, at the time of 11:35 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Dick E


The matrícula consular has been around for a long time (see Wikipedia article), and is issued by all Mexican consulates. Nobody needs to travel to Catalina to get one, but I suppose a consul can set up a card table in a country club or church and start passing ’em out.

Our government is fully aware how little these documents mean, and I certainly hope that nobody would be foolish enough to accept a Mexican government document as evidence of legal US residency.

The only people I know of who accept these as ID are bankers who want to make money from people sending money to Mexico. The bankers take absolutely no risk on these transactions -- the campesino walks in with a wad of bills, and the bank sends the money (minus their fee) to an account in Mexico. Banks would do these money transfers with no ID at all if bank regulators would let them.

The above hissed in response by: Dick E [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 4, 2010 9:28 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi


Maybe I don't understand the story, or maybe it's because ive worked for US Immigration (under different titles and names now) for 14 years, but I don't get what all the hubbub is about here.

A Matricula, or the voter card (Tarjeta de elector) that they carry is evidence of nothing. At least not to the Federal Government. They can obtain Mexican Passports in many different cities in the United States, which are considered valid identification.

So who cares about the matricula?

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 5, 2010 1:03 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Baggi, Dick E.:

A Matricula, or the voter card (Tarjeta de elector) that they carry is evidence of nothing. At least not to the Federal Government.

I think the both of you seriously underestimate how little most people know about ID cards -- and how accustomed they are to respond to what seems like authoritative ID.

As I look at the card itself, it looks for all the world like a real ID card -- complete with expiry date, an American city, state, and zip code (which can be mistaken for a legal residence), and a photo, which completes the illusion that it's an official ID recognized in the United States.

I'm sure Baggi is correct that federal USCIS employees would recognize this as a meaningless piece of plastic issued by the Mexican government even to illegal aliens; but I'm not at all sure local police throughout the country would recognize it, especially as one gets out of the area bordering Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico.

I can easily see city or state welfare officers being fooled, along with universities (so they get residence tuition rates), polling precincts (in those states which are allowed to check a voter's identification), and a great many employers who don't keep up with what IDs are acceptable for non-citizens to work legally in the United States.

It could even help them get a drivers license, credit card, mortgage, bank loan, and so forth.

In each of these cases, an illegal with a very official-looking Matricular card and a good line of blarney can probably buffalo the gatekeeper. Remember, most people are unfamiliar with legitimate and illegitimate forms of ID for Mexican nationals. They are easily fooled by a slick card with a photo and a security seal.

This makes it much, much easier for an illegal to live well while remaining illegal... exactly the opposite of what anyone favoring border security wants to see.

Too, since the card might be useful to illegals, it draws them out of the woodwork, out of other states, and into California -- as if we need more illegals here! And the specious claim of "sanctuary," because they hand them out in a church, might stymie CIS -- or more likely state and local police -- from taking advantage of the situation by nabbing a bunch of them as they come to get their fraudulent ID cards.

Beware the trap of assuming that you two are representative of the average American, or especially the average bureaucrat: Few are as knowledgeable or have the powers of observation of the average Big Lizards reader!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 5, 2010 12:53 PM

The following hissed in response by: Tonestaple

Seattle, Renton, Yakima, Tacoma, and Bellevue, Washington all accept the matricula as identification to do business with the city. Every article I found on the Seattle Times website mentioned safeguards against counterfeiting but not a single one mentioned the possibility of identity theft. Apparently, the matricula is just hunky-dory for any old thing up here, and woe betide any racist who points out flaws in the system.

Most of these articles were from the early aughties, so it's quite funny to read them now because they almost all say that states are not responsible for enforcing federal immigration law.

I think immigration reform is probably a fine idea but it doesn't need to be done all at once, and it doesn't need to be done at all until we seal the damn borders.

The above hissed in response by: Tonestaple [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 5, 2010 5:04 PM

The following hissed in response by: Baggi

I understand what you're saying now, Dafydd. Didn't quite get it before.

As ive moved out of California, I can't say that I share your fear.

Instead, I now live in the great state of Washington. Here, all you need is residency and you are given a valid Washington State Drivers License. Now, what would you rather have, a Mexican Matricula card, or a valid Washington State Drivers license?

I can tell you that they are voting for this one with their feet. They come from all over the country to Washington State to get their valid drivers license. The Mexican, Ecuadoreans, Brazilians, Koreans, Indonesians and i'm sure many others, come from the rest of the United States to Seattle area to obtain that wonderful document.

How do I know this?

Because I work here for immigration (not CIS).

The best part is, no one cares! Isn't that great? Everyone from ICE, to CBP, to FBI, to the DoS, to the State Police, TSA and the Department of Licensing (And probably a few more alphabet agencies ive forgotten) all know it's happening and all have their hands tied.

Why? Because the only alphabet that isn't interested is the AUSA.

So these guys up here in Washington advertise, openly, in newspapers and magazines in New York and New Jersey (mostly but also ive seen people coming from Atlanta, Florida and Ohio) that for a price, they will help you obtain your legal drivers license.

Here's how it works.

#1 -- You fly into Washington on Monday. You've got family that lives here, they take you to the Department of Licensing (DMV for you Californians), you take the written exam, make an appointment for the drivers test, and your mother/father/brother/uncle/cousin whatever tells the DoL, "Yeah, this guy lives at my house" no proof needed! You come back later, take the drivers exam and viola! You can now live easier in New York or New Jersey with your Washington State Drivers License.

#2 -- You get a phone number from a buddy, newspaper, magazine, acquaintance. Call the number, fly to Seattle, meet up, pay about $300.00, get the answered to the written test, put a cable/direcTV/Dish Network/Water Bill/Electric Bill etc in your name, go home, wait about a month, viola! You now have residency in Washington State as your receipt for the bill arrives in the mail. Go back to Seattle, pay more money, use your new "Friends" care to take the driving test and here's your new license! Gotta pay a little extra too to the people who are letting you use their address.

#3 -- Full package deal. Pay about $1,500.00, they even put you up in a hotel! Give you the answers to the written test. Pay off a DoL employee for the drivers test (surprisingly a lot of illegals fail the driving exam the first couple of times unless they pay off a DoL employee for a passing score), have someone come down to the DoL on your behalf (Not the guy who's getting the $1,500, just a guy who is getting a cut) and "vouch" for you that you live in their house and, here's your new license!

This is gotten so out of hand up here in Seattle now that i'd hazzard to guess it's a multi million dollar business now, all in cash.

So you'll excuse me if I don't get too worked up over foreign ID. We officers need a reason these days to take people into custody that clearly isn't "Profiling". One of the best ways to do this is to ask for ID and not be given any US identification. That triggers probable cause.

But if you live in Arizona and present a Washington State Drivers License, under the new law, the Arizona police can no longer look into your immigrant status.

On the other hand, they can if you present a mexican matricular id.

See my point, Dafydd?

The above hissed in response by: Baggi [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 6, 2010 1:22 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


See my point, Dafydd?

Yes: Your point is that illegals in Washington state don't need Matricular cards, because that state is worse even than California about handing out an official ID to anyone who asks for one.

However, in CA, you need a valid Social Security Number and proof of legal residency in the state before you can get a driver's license; thus in California, a matricular card can be very useful in making it appear as though an illegal is actually here legally.

Which is why so many do indeed get such cards here... and why the Mexican government is handing them out in a Catholic church on Catalina island.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 6, 2010 5:11 AM

The following hissed in response by: Ken Hahn

I can't get too upset at Calderon. He's doing what he was elected to do, protect and promote the interests of his country. I just wish our Democrats had the same devotion to theirs.

The above hissed in response by: Ken Hahn [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 6, 2010 3:32 PM

The following hissed in response by: Bart Johnson

I have seen several newspaper articles that complain about the long time and
arbitrariness of the procedures to get legal entry papers.
Can we agree that any system will have unfairness under some circumstance?
Further, we need to decide whether any system that attempts to limit the
number of people from specific groups is, or is not, inherently arbitrary.
Some logic may be involved, but once you say,
"This far and no farther" you will always have arbitrary limits.
The current system, IIRC, has different limits for various countries
and ethnic groups, with adjustments for politics. By definition, political
adjustments will be arbitrary, ambiguous, and hopefully temporary.
I have heard a lot of people who don't like the current system.
I have not heard a lot of people who make specific proposals for a
replacement. Who can design a system that can stand up to an IEEE-style
inspection? Where is the "red book" of immigration?
Warning, expect to have your honor, your intelligence, and your lineage

The above hissed in response by: Bart Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 6, 2010 8:51 PM

The following hissed in response by: LarryD

But if you live in Arizona and present a Washington State Drivers License, under the new law, the Arizona police can no longer look into your immigrant status.

IANAL, but I believe you are mistaken. An Arizona DL, yes, but the new law doesn't give all state IDs that status, only ones that actually require some confirmation of legal residence. The Washington DL, obviously deliberately, fails.

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 7, 2010 9:50 AM

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