As many of you know, there is a group of El Pasoans that have been pushing forth the concept of a municipal identification card for those city residents that do not have identification or have a difficult time acquiring an identification card from the federal or state governments. In May of this year, the City of El Paso published a white paper on municipal identification cards that outlined the needs and the alternatives as well as the cost for such a program. The latest pending issue is the cost to implement the program. Advocates have said that the recipients of the municipal identification cards would pay fees to offset the costs. Much of the debate about the municipal identification cards centers on the notion that there is a disfranchised group of individuals that cannot get an identification card for many reasons.
In addition to the nonprofit groups pushing the municipal identification program, some elected officials have championed the cause. Most notably, county commissioner David Stout. After the City published its white paper, the push for the identification cards seems to have lost steam at the city level, although the advocates continue to push forth the idea.
Spoken in only whispers, because to voice it out loud would lead to xenophobic and nationalist rhetoric, is that the municipal identification cards would help undocumented immigrants that live in El Paso.
As an immigrant from Mexico, who fully understands the plight of the undocumented immigrant, something about the advocacy for the cards does not sit right with me. It seems to me that there is a hidden agenda at play here and helping undocumented immigrants is just a means to an end.
Clearly, the municipal identification cards would help the undocumented population more than any of the other disfranchised groups, like the homeless, that the advocates routinely bring up when advocating for the identification cards. Although it has been pointed out numerous times that the other disfranchised groups, like recently released prisoners, the mentally ill or military veterans without identification, have avenues in place to acquire identification, the advocates continues to use them as a reason to put the program in place.
Regardless, the largest group that would benefit from a municipal identification card are the undocumented.
Something about how the municipal identification card scheme is being pushed just does not seem right to me. It seems to me to be a ploy for something else altogether, rather than to help the undocumented.
If the goal is to help the undocumented population in the city, then the solution is rather simple and cost free to the taxpayers of the city. I wrote about the Mexican Matricula Consular (link) back in February when this issue first surfaced.
As I wrote then, the Matricula Consular issued by the Mexican government to Mexican citizens in the United States is both secured and already authorized by the US government for certain transactions requiring identification, for example banking services. The consular issued card is available to all Mexican citizens in the United States, irrespective of their legal status. There is a nominal fee for the card, paid for by the recipient and the requirement to prove Mexican citizenship.
As I wrote in February, rather than having the City spend money to implement and produce municipal identification cards, the city council could simply issue a directive the El Paso Police Department, the city’s services such as the libraries and other city services to accept the Matricula Consular as a valid form of identification.
When this was brought up, some of the advocates argued that it would not solve the problem of users attempting to receive services at UMC, acquiring birth certificates for their US born children or enrolling children in school.
The municipal identification card would not solve those problems either, but somehow the advocates chose to ignore that issue as they continued pushing for the card.
One of the examples of the need for a municipal identification card was that undocumented parents were being denied the birth certificates of their US-born children by Texas officials. Although the municipal identification card would not have solved that issue, as the city council does not have authority to direct the Texas government to accept the municipal identification card, the problem was resolved last week by the Texas courts.
In a court settlement, the Texas government has agreed to begin accepting the Mexican voter identification card as a valid form of identification in order to acquire a copy of their children’s birth certificate. The Mexican voter registration is available to all Mexican citizens, regardless of their immigration status in any Mexican consulate.
This brings me back the push for a municipal identification card.
If the true intent is to help undocumented immigrants, city council, and the county government for that matter, could easily, and freely resolve the issue by directing their respective departments to accept the Matricula Consular and the Mexican voter registration cards as valid identification. It is really as simple as that.
All it would take would be the will to do the right thing, a few hours of legislative actions and the paper from which the new directive is sent to the respective departments. The US federal government already accepts them and now the State of Texas.
Advocates for the municipal identification card would likely point to the undocumented immigrants that are from other countries, besides Mexico. The Texas government, as part of the settlement has agreed to accept identification issued by certain Central American consulates to their respective citizens in the United States.
As for the other disfranchised groups, like the veterans, the Mexican identification cards would not help them. However, eliminating the need for helping undocumented immigrants reduces the population to a more manageable level so that other initiatives can be implemented more cost effectively. Therefore my question is; are the undocumented immigrants just an excuse for some other agenda?
Knowing these facts forces me to question the motives behind the push for the municipal identification cards. What is their true motive? The Matricula Consular and the Mexican voter rergistration card may not solve all of the issues, but they would resolve a grand majority of them thus freeing up resources for the ones that wouldn’t be resolved.
So why, are some individuals still pushing the municipal identification cards? Why hasn’t someone at city council stepped forward and pushed forth a simple legislative directive ordering their police department, city services and libraries to accept Mexican identification cards as valid identification?
There is more at play here then meets the eye. What is the true agenda is the question everyone should ask themselves.