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Mexican Consulate Distributes IDs to Illegals

Jun 8, 2010

Washington, Jun 8, 2010 - Since the signing of the tough new immigration enforcement law in Arizona, which I support, the issue of illegal immigration has once again jettisoned to the forefront of national political discussion. The Obama administration’s reaction to Arizona’s efforts to get an untenable situation under control, has been disappointingly predictable and dismissive of the majority of the American people who support what Arizona is doing. At every turn this administration has attempted to vilify Arizona’s efforts to enforce the law from threats of litigation by the Justice Department to our President allowing Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, to lecture us about our immigration laws from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. With each passing day our border remains unsecure, the out of control flow of illegal aliens continues bankrupting border states like my home state of California and puts our national security at risk. 

That attitude and the administration’s unequivocal support for amnesty have not gone unnoticed by our neighbors to the South. If anything, it seems to have emboldened the Mexican government even more to thumb their noses at our laws and push for the legalization of 10-20 million illegal aliens, a majority of which are from Mexico. 

After all, illegal immigration in the United States is big business for Mexico. After oil, the number two source of income for Mexico is the roughly $25 billion of remittances sent back there from workers in the United States, many of whom are here illegally. 

One of the tactics used by the Mexican government to help maintain this revenue source is the issuance of what is known as a “matricula consular ID card” to Mexican nationals who do not have proper documentation to be in this country legally. The purpose of this ID card is to help make it easier for illegals to access public services, obtain housing or open bank accounts. 

According to a recent report by the Federation for Immigration Reform: 

“Matricula consular ID cards — two million of which have been issued in the last two years, have drawn heated criticism because they are issued to illegal aliens who cannot access U.S.-issued identity documents. Because consular ID cards are only needed by people who aren’t legally in the U.S. in the first place, communities and businesses that accept the cards as valid ID are undermining immigration enforcement and compromising U.S. security. 

“There’s no way around the fact that consular ID cards are only needed by people who aren’t legally in the U.S. in the first place. Indeed, relying on the Mexican matricula for identification is tantamount to admitting that the bearer is in the U.S. illegally, as no one here legally has a need for one. 

“The FBI and the Department of Justice say that the cards are not a reliable form of identification and pose "major criminal threats" and a "potential terrorist threat.” 

Given these facts, I became alarmed when I was made aware of the Mexican Consulate’s intention to set up temporary consular services in my district on the island of Catalina — a small resort community located 22 miles off the coast of southern California. It is estimated that majority of the 3,000 permanent residents there now are presumably illegal immigrants. 

I believe wholeheartedly that the Mexican government is abusing their agreement with our State Department which allows them to provide legitimate off-site consular services, by providing documents to illegal aliens. Basically, a foreign government inserted itself into my congressional district to provide passports and matricula cards to individuals illegally present in the U.S. and residing on Catalina Island. I considered the Mexican government's action a declaration that Catalina is their turf. During my recent visit to Catalina, I let the Mexican consulate officials know this is not acceptable. 

It was also brought to my attention that the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles contacted the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office to ask for their “cooperation” while they conducted these services. In other words, "please do not enforce immigration law or raid the location where we are providing services." According to ICE officials I’ve spoken to, these requests are common practice by the Mexican Consulate. What is going on here? 

The United States cannot afford to continue the status quo. As long as the economic incentives, access to public benefits, free education and health care and lack of enforcement remain in place, millions more will continue to illegally cross into our country. With national unemployment hovering at 10% and even higher in states like California, Michigan, Nevada and Ohio, we cannot allow the unfettered flow of cheap illegal labor to bid down wages for Americans looking for work or expect the taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for those who take advantage of the limited resources intended to assist U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who need help. 

Our first step needs to be attrition through enforcement, not capitulation to the Mexican government or an administration that is looking to solidify a democratic voting bloc at the expense of the well-being of the American people. 
This blog is cross-posted at The Hill's Congress Blog