March held in support of Mexican IDs

November 15, 2010 4:10:53 PM PST
A local Durham group held a march in downtown Durham Monday in support of a controversial form of ID.The event was hosted by a group that wants Durham City Council members to accept an identification card issued by the Government of Mexico when dealing with Mexican nationals.

Ronald Garcia of the Centro Hispano in Durham says many people don't really know what the Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridad (MCAS) --Consular Identification Card-- is about.

It's an identification card issued by the Government of Mexico through its consulate offices to Mexican citizens residing outside of Mexico regardless of their emigration status. The card is accepted as ID by many police departments nationwide, and many banks accept it for financial transactions.

"I think there's a lot of misunderstandings out there and I think economics plays a role in that now," Garcia said.

He, and others, say the Mexican ID card is a good way for local authorities to avoid a lengthy legal process when undocumented workers become involved in minor infractions.

"Detaining and processing and then deporting people who haven't really committed a crime, yeah, maybe they don't have all their papers in order, but that's really a part of our broken immigration system," Garcia said.

The Durham City Council is considering a proposal that would recognize the Mexican ID cards as valid forms of ID. If passed, Durham would become the first city in North Carolina to do so.

Several other cities in the country, including Dallas and San Francisco, have already accepted the documents. Still, some are concerned a "yes" vote in Durham could lead to other problems.

"That could be the path that leads from this card to the official documents ... to being able to vote and I think for voter integrity, that's a concern a lot of folks have," said Mitch Kokai with the John Locke Foundation.

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