NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Illegals in United States are Getting ID Cards from Home

January 29, 2003

More countries are following the lead of Mexico and issuing identification cards to their citizens living in the United States, including those here illegally. The digitally-coded, laminated cards do not list the holder's immigration status, but are being used as legal forms of identification for purposes ranging from opening bank accounts to applying for social services.

  • Aware of Mexico's success in getting identification cards to its citizens living here, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, El Salvador and even Poland have begun or are considering issuing cards of their own.
  • Mexico issued nearly a million of the cards last year and Guatemala plans to make its own cards available to the estimated 327,000 Guatemalans living here.
  • Hundreds of state and local governments, along with 798 police agencies and 74 banks, now accept the cards for identification purposes -- despite warnings by federal law-enforcement authorities of the potential for widespread fraud.
  • The cards are said to be of value only to illegals, since legal immigrants already have U.S. identification documents.

Mexican President Vicente Fox has reportedly overseen an active lobbying campaign to persuade U.S. mayors, police chiefs and bank presidents to accept the cards for identification purposes. But only 10 of Mexico's 32 states and districts have granted official recognition to the cards. Moreover, no major bank in Mexico accepts them.

Source: Jerry Seper, "More Countries Issue ID Cards to Illegal Aliens in U.S.," Washington Times, January 29, 2003.


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