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Dear Editor:
From Mr. Frecker's perspective, the matricula consular "is not such a great deal". He notes it does nothing to legalize the holder's immigration status, claims it doesn't do anything for security, and opines that anyone to whom the card may be presented will most likely know that they are dealing with an illegal (i.e. undocumented) alien. I admit to all this; except, I believe it does help security somewhat in that Mexico is now identifying its undocumented immigrants in this country (any record is better than no record). From the point of view of the undocumented Mexican immigrant, on the other hand, the card is "a great deal". The little white card with a green-and-red curved stripe and the holder's photo identifies him as a Mexican citizen. It gives him an official identity where he had none. A positive identification allows him to cash a paycheck, open a bank account to deposit his savings (instead of stashing it unsafely under the mattress or in a coffee can); and with a bank account he can transfer money to his family in Mexico at reasonable rates-of-charge instead of the almost 20% now charged by some private money changers who arbitrarily establish their own fees. (Charging 20% for international money transfer to me seems like usury--one fifth of the moneys sent home is lost in transfer fees!).

That the users of the matricula are likely to be undocumented, doesn't concern at least some banks here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, most people that I know care little or nothing about the political status of Mexican immigrants they encounter working here. As another recent writer ("Name not Supplied") wrote: " [The government] has an informal policy of winking at illegal immigration". I would like to rephrase that: Our government treats undocumented workers with benign neglect. It realizes (as do most economists) the need for these workers in our economy but does not have the will to resolve their status. I believe that these workers have lingered long enough in their political purgatory and have earned their expiation. The government of Mexico in issuing these matricula cards is identifying its own citizens that are working in this country without papers. That in no way interfers with the internal affairs of our country. Identification of ones own citizens by ones own country in no way affects the national security of another country. Mexico is proud of its citizens who leave home and loved ones, risk their lives, and work at demeaning and thankless jobs to support their families and homeland. These immigrants, with the earnings they send back to their families, are the second largest source of revenue for their country. To their countrymen, they are national heroes--and rightly so. In the US, undocumented Mexican workers contribute over $300 billion annually to our economy (UCLA report, 9-10-01).

The "Name not Supplied" writer also wrote : "thirteen states allow holders of Mexican Consular cards to use these cards as documentation to get a driver's license". I am not aware of this and wonder if this writer can substantiate his statement? Which thirteen states honor the card?) I concur with this writer that neither a driver's license nor a social security number is adequate for national security identification in these times of terrorism. T

Richard E. Baer, DVM

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