Unfortunate Precedent — the Uruguayan ID Card for Its Illegals

By David North on March 20, 2012

Uruguay is copying what the Mexican government has done for years — issuing consular cards to identify a group of its citizens here — who are, incidentally, largely in illegal status.

It is an unfortunate move, and there are no indications that our government is doing anything about it, although it could. The cards, matricula consular in Spanish, give a sheen of plausibility to the people carrying them and, while not an indication of legal presence in the United States, the cards do help the illegals with such activities as opening a bank account.

The March 18 Miami Herald included a a reference to the consular cards in a long news account about the presence of a fast-growing Uruguayan community in South Florida, many of them illegal.

I doubt that our government can do anything about the issuance of the cards, given the foreign policy considerations and our State Department's tendency to bend over backwards to be nice to other nations, but the government could certainly regulate the American banks and other institutions that might use those cards.

Why should nationally chartered banks be allowed to recognize the matricula consular? Making it awkward for illegal aliens to operate in the United States should be a policy objective, even for federal bank regulators.

Why are these cards needed by the illegals? Don't they have their own nations' passports — a perfectly legitimate document to use at a bank? In many cases, the illegals probably do not have passports, and are thus thumbing their noses at their own government as well as ours. The consular officials are apparently too soft-hearted or too dense to notice.

Again, it is one of those issues, such as the non-enforcement of employer sanctions, in which some of the very poor (the illegals) and some of the very rich (banks and/or employers) join forces to reduce interior enforcement of the immigration laws.

Unfortunately, this is the potent combination that too often dominates the immigration dialogue.