"Clearly, this is a threat to vulnerability," Steven McCraw, the assistant director of the FBI's Office of Intelligence, told a House immigration panel yesterday.
Given the Bush Administration's willingness to court the Hispanic vote by supporting immigration from Mexico it is surprising that an FBI agent would be willing and able to basically take a position that makes it harder for the Bushies to attempt (totally futilely I might add) to outbid the Democratic Party for the Hispanic vote.
“The FBI is particularly concerned about fraudulent financial transactions in the post 9/11 environment, given the fact that foreign terrorists often rely on money transferred from within the United States.”—McCraw, FBI “Federal officials have discovered individuals from many different countries in possession of the matricula consular card. … At least one individual of Middle Eastern descent has also been arrested in possession of the matricula consular card. The ability of foreign nationals to use the matricula consular to create a well-documented, but fictitious, identity in the United States provides an opportunity for terrorists to move freely within the United States without triggering name-based watch lists that are disseminated to local police officers. It allows them to board planes without revealing their true identity.”—McCraw, FBI
Even more surprising is that someone at the level of a department Assistant Secretary has come out and expressed concerns about the ID cards granted for illegal aliens.
"We're very concerned about these cards,' said Homeland Security Department Assistant Secretary C. Stewart Verdery.
Verdery voiced concern about misuse of the cards as "breeder documents' to more easily gain access to other documents, such as driver's licenses, and create false identities
Here is an excerpt of the full text of Verdery's testimony before the US House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims.
We believe that individuals have been able to obtain multiple cards under multiple names, an occurrence which poses a significant security issue and impacts their reliability as valid forms of identification.
Another concern is the extent to which consular identification cards are used as “breeder documents,” that is, to more easily gain access to other documentation, such as drivers’ licenses. We are concerned that foreign consular identification cards fraudulently obtained could aid criminal activity - such as money laundering - by facilitating the creation of false identities. We need to examine not only the security features of these cards but also the security of the issuance process and the documentary requirements for obtaining them.
The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) has disseminated an intelligence alert that contains background information about the consular identification cards, including an example of a matricula consular. BCBP requires reporting on the interdiction of individuals who have been caught carrying multiple cards. Further, they will work closely with other BTS agencies to coordinate any information and intelligence arising from such cases.
Legal aliens have identification granted to them by the United States government. The only people who need matricula counsular cards are illegal aliens. As Allan Wall (who is married to a Mexican woman and lives and works in Mexico) reports from Mexico, most Mexican banks do not accept the matricula consular as a valid form of identification.
In other words, Mexicans who legally enter the U.S. and have all their papers in order (like my wife, for example) have no need of a matricula consular. And here in Mexico, most banks don’t even accept it! That should tell you something. Nearly all the applicants for the matricula consular are illegal aliens.
The Center for Immigration Studies has done a study on the matricula consular.
* The matricula consular is useful in the United States only for illegal aliens, since legal immigrants, by definition, have U.S. government-issued documents.
* The Mexican government has launched an aggressive grassroots lobbying campaign to win acceptance for its matricula card from state and local jurisdictions and from banks, especially in areas where Mexican illegal aliens are concentrated.
* The objective of this lobbying effort is to achieve quasi-legal status for Mexican illegals in the United States without waiting for action from Washington.
* The matricula itself, however, is useful to illegal aliens only insofar as U.S. institutions are willing to collaborate with Mexico’s efforts to circumvent U.S. immigration law.
* While many jurisdictions have resisted pressure from the Mexican government, others have not; the matricula is now accepted by 800 local law enforcement agencies and 74 banks, as well as by 13 states for purposes of obtaining a driver’s license.
* Not only does the matricula subvert U.S. immigration law, it is not even a secure identity document. Mexico is not authenticating the documents used to obtain the matricula against computerized data files in Mexico.
* Safeguards are not in place to prevent multiple issuance of matriculas to the same individual; in fact, the INS has already reported finding multiple cards in different names issued to the same person.
* The matricula is becoming a shield that hides criminal activity for two reasons: first, the holder’s identity was not verified when the card was issued, and second, police in jurisdictions that accept the matricula are less likely to run background checks on card holders picked up for minor infractions.
* The U.S. Treasury Department has given its approval to banks to accept the matricula for opening bank accounts.
* The acceptance of Mexico’s matricula consular sets a precedent, making it almost impossible to reject similar cards presented by illegal aliens from other countries, including those which have sent terrorists to the United States in the past.
A more sensible response to the matricula consular would be for all law enforcement agencies at all levels of government to be instructed (by legislation where necessary) to arrest for deportation anyone found carrying the matricula card who has no paperwork from the United States government indicating that they have a right to be in the United States. The states should pass laws requiring state and local law enforcement officials to take into custody all illegals that they encounter to hold them for deportation. To support this effort the US Congress ought to instruct the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) to pick up all such detained illegals from local custody in a timely manner and deport them rapidly.
Mexican government officials are lobbying US local governments all across America to encourage acceptance of the matricula consular issued by Mexican consulates in America to illegal aliens. (or see here).
WASHINGTON – Mexico's consul general in Detroit made the 172-mile drive across Michigan five times in just two weeks last month. Each time his mission was the same: to persuade authorities in the small city of Holland to accept Mexico's matricula consular as an ID card for Mexican immigrants.
A pair of Assembly bills parked for the moment in the Senate Public Safety Committee are poised to stamp the imprimatur of the state on a practice that already is becoming common in San Diego County: accepting a photo identification card issued by the Mexican government to its nationals who reside, legally or illegally, in California.
By contrast, the governor of the state of Colorado signed into law the The Colorado Secure and Verifiable Identity Document Act which effectively bans the acceptance of such forms of ID in the state of Colorado. At least two other states have similar bills pending in their legislatures and Rep. Tom Tancredo (R CO) has introduced legislation in the US House of Representatives to ban the acceptance of the matricula consular and similar forms of ID in the United States.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 July 02 04:48 PM Immigration Law Enforcement|