Senator Haridopolos Takes up Fight against Illegal Immigration

Senator Haridopolos announced this week that he will introduce legislation to provide that only secure and verifiable forms of identification may be accepted in the voter registration process and in applications for government benefits, licenses, and permits. This common-sense measure prevents government agencies and businesses from extending specific public services to those who are not entitled to them. Not only is an accurate determination of identity essential to the avoidance of fraud in the administration of government services, it is equally essential to the vigorous enforcement of national immigration laws and to our continuing efforts in the all-important war on terror.

One example of the abuses which this bill is designed to combat is the Matricula Consular, a plain, laminated identification card issued by Mexican consulates. These cards are easily obtained -- usually with a real, forged, or purchased Mexican birth certificate, but sometimes on a simple request -- and many contain few or no security features, inviting forgeries. Because Mexicans residing legally in the United States have no use for these cards, they have been issued almost exclusively to illegal immigrants. They have even been obtained by non-Mexicans in need of aliases, including one recently arrested Iranian national. It is no surprise then that the Justice Department and FBI have condemned the Matricula Consular as an unreliable and unacceptable form of identification. Contrary to logic, however, several agencies and businesses have recently announced that they will accept Matricula Consulars as conclusive proof of the bearer's identity.

"Like the proposal to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, relaxed identification requirements encourage conduct that defies the will of Congress, violates our laws, and endangers our security," Senator Haridopolos said. "To allow any illegal immigrant or clever terrorist to obtain a Florida driver's license, receive government benefits, and even register to vote, is simply bad policy. This bill, without imposing burdens on law-abiding citizens or visitors, promotes the enforcement of our laws as well as our peace and security as a state and as a nation."

To read the congressional testimony of Steve McCraw, Assistant Director of the Office of Intelligence, FBI, concerning the Matricula Consular, please click here.