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Common sense talk on state policy toward immigrants

In case you missed it, Jessica Rocha of the N.C. Justice Center has an excellent essay in today’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer on the absurdity of the proposal by conservative state lawmakers to prevent the state of North Carolina from making use of identification cards issued by foreign governments.

As Rocha writes:

“Some people who live in North Carolina can’t get a state-issued card. If they are foreigners, they can get IDs issued by their governments, just like Americans get them from ours as the country best positioned to confirm the facts regarding a person’s citizenship, age, complete name and address. For Mexican citizens living in the United States, regional consular offices process and issue consular identification cards. Also known as the “Matricula Consular,” it does not confer immigration status or eligibility for any U.S. benefits or privileges. It is a path to nothing more than clarity….

Getting a consular ID requires similar proof as an N.C. ID, A Mexican citizen must meet with the consular office located in the region where they live and 1) provide a Mexican birth certificate, passport or certificate of nationality, 2) possess an official government photo ID, 3) establish proof of residency and 4) have a personal consular interview. The Mexican government checks its national voter card data base as well as all consular databases. A stop/hold order is issued if there are questions or similar sounding names. The ID is good for five years and available to both documented and undocumented Mexican citizens.

That is the rub … the undocumented thing. In an effort to make it harder for that population, proponents would cause confusion to lots of North Carolina residents, who need to do their job and have an answer to the common question “May I see an ID please?”

If this bill is passed, schools may be at a loss to verify a parent’s identity just to enroll a child in school.

Law enforcement officers may have difficulty identifying victims of crime even though the answer is within sight, and magistrates will not be able to let people out on bond. And it’s the taxpayers who will pay the bills – for school staffing and to keep people in jail until trial, because their proof of identification is no longer valid.

This is not about thoughtful, useful or necessary policy. It’s not about security, and it’s certainly not going to lead to “self-deportation.” In a modern global economy that demands the best use of time and resources we cannot afford the price of small provincial notions of running folks out of town.

You can read the entire op-ed by clicking here.

 

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