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Vitter Investigates Mexican Government's Issuance of ID Cards

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Vitter Investigates Mexican Government's Issuance of ID Cards
Calls for Intervention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Sen. David Vitter today spoke with officials at the Department of Homeland Security expressing his very strong concerns about the Mexican government's plan to issue government identification cards to foreign nationals in Lafayette, including those in the country illegally. The Mexican Consulate in Houston is sending representatives to Lafayette this coming week to provide local Mexican nationals with the opportunity to receive a "matricula consular card." The matricula cards are issued by the Mexican government to verify that the bearer is a Mexican citizen living in the United States but could likely be used as official ID in place of a U.S.-issued card in some instances.

In a telephone conversation with Julie Myers, assistant secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at DHS, Sen. Vitter requested that ICE agents be present at the upcoming ID card drive to identify and detain illegal aliens in the country. ICE agents are charged with enforcing the customs and immigration laws of the United States, and more than 15,000 agents work in offices throughout the country to protect our borders and national security. In recent months, ICE agents have successfully arrested several thousand criminal aliens and immigration violators in stings throughout the country.

"I have huge concerns that the issuance of these cards could be used for the benefit of illegal immigrants," said Vitter. "An individual who is residing illegally in the United States could be issued this card and then use it in a transaction that requires some form of identification. The Mexican consulate has stated their intent to issue these cards to any of their citizens who reside in the United States, even if they are doing so illegally, and that is simply unacceptable."

The Louisiana State Police does not recognize matricula cards as an official form of ID, and neither do many local businesses. However, some businesses, including banks, have expressed their intent to use the cards as an acceptable form of ID, effectively allowing illegal aliens to open bank accounts.

"There is no foreseeable reason why a Mexican national who is legally residing in Louisiana cannot obtain an ID card. The fact that these cards are issued to any or all Mexican nationals without any investigation as to their status of residence is a clear indication that these matricula cards are designed to assist illegal aliens," Vitter said.

During his conversation with Myers, Sen. Vitter also inquired about legal options that are available to local authorities.

"If we are truly serious about combating illegal immigration in our country, then we should not be tolerating this sort of activity. Each year, hundreds of thousands of individuals legally enter the United States and subject themselves to a lengthy and time-consuming process of entry. Many of these individuals are still patiently awaiting visas, green cards and naturalization. It is simply not fair that others who have entered the country illegally should be afforded the same benefits as those who have taken the legal and appropriate route," said Vitter.

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