Consular Identification Cards: Domestic and Foreign Policy Implications, the Mexican Case, and Related Legislation [Updated September 30, 2003] [open pdf - 68KB]
"The current debate about consular identification cards in the United States has centered around the matrícula consular, the consular card issued by the Mexican government to its citizens in the United States when they register with a consulate. For this reason, this report focuses mainly on the Mexican matrícula consular. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Mexico redesigned and added new features to the matrícula consular to make it a more useful and secure document. In recent years, and especially since September 2001, Mexican consulates in the United States and other interested parties have worked to gain acceptance of the matrícula consular as identification for a variety of purposes, with considerable success. A U.S. federal government interagency working group is in the process of developing recommendations for a federal policy on acceptance of consular identification cards and guidance to state and local government agencies and other entities on acceptance. The matrícula consular raises a number of controversial questions for U.S. domestic and foreign policy. With respect to domestic policy, supporters argue that acceptance of the card is necessary in a post-September 11, 2001 America, where photo identification is required to conduct daily business. They maintain that the card is a secure, reliable, fraud-resistant document that improves public safety and homeland security. Opponents argue that the matrícula consular is needed only by aliens who are illegally present in the United States and serves to undermine U.S. immigration law. They assert that the card is not secure and that its acceptance threatens public safety and homeland security."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32094