What Is a Matricula Consular ID Card?

By Fred Elbel
Published in The Social Contract
Volume 16, Number 4 (Summer 2006)
Issue theme: "Immigration and economics: an interview with Cornell University Labor Economist Vernon M. Briggs, Jr."

[Author attribution corrected November 29, 2023] 

The Mexican Matricula Consular ID card is an ID card issued to Mexican foreign nationals in the United States. The matricula consular is useful in the United States only for illegal aliens, because legal immigrants by definition have legal U.S. government-issued documents.

After 9/11, the Mexican Government realized that they could not gain another U.S. amnesty for illegal aliens. Instead, they launched a lobbying campaign to gain acceptance of the ID at state and local levels and from U.S. banks.

U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo said, 'The only people who benefit from having such an ID are those who have come illegally and have broken our laws.' This ID card is essentially a back door attempt at a stealth amnesty and a direct challenge to the jurisdiction of Congress over U.S. immigration policy. Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez, director of the Mexican card program was quoted as saying 'It's necessary to push the need for an amnesty at all levels.'

The matricula card is not a secure document. Mexico does not authenticate documents used to obtain the ID against computerized data files in Mexico. No major bank in Mexico accepts the card to open an account and the cards are recognized as IDs in only 10 of Mexico's 32 states and districts.

Now, Guatemala, Honduras, Poland, Peru and El Salvador, aware of Mexico's success, have begun or are considering issuing cards of their own.

City liability insurance companies almost certainly won't cover liability associated with accepting such a card, since it is a violation of Federal law to accept the card. So if a city accepts the card and a citizen is injured by an illegal alien, the citizen could likely sue individual city council members for their personal assets and life savings.

Specifically, a state or local government official or employee who provides any benefit or service to such a presenter possesses the criminal intent (mens rea) necessary for a felony indictment under Section 274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which provides criminal penalties for any act that 'encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.'

For more information, see

Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform's extensive material on the Matricula ID, including videos and activist toolkits.

IDs for Illegals The 'Matricula Consular' Advances Mexico's Immigration Agenda, published by the Center for Immigration Studies.

Matricula Consular ID Cards, by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

"Quienes Son" No Sabemos. Mexico's fake i.d." and its terrorist implications, by James A. Cooley, National Review, April 21, 2004.

FBI Criticizes Mexican Consular I.D. Cards by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, June 26, 2003.

Testimony Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims, by Craig Nelsen, Executive Director Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement, June 19, 2003.

About the author

[Author attribution corrected November 29, 2023] 

Fred Elbel is a computer systems consultant and web developer for numerous population- and immigration-related websites. He is director of Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform and was media liaison and webmaster for the Minuteman Project during the month of April 2005.

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