Notary Bulletin

Nationwide 'Matricula' Card Debate Continues As Northern California Law Enforcement Agencies Decide To Accept Controversial IDs

The recent decision by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department and the Santa Rosa Police Department to allow officers to accept Matricula Consular cards continues the nationwide debate over these controversial IDs issued by Mexican consulates whose citizens live outside of Mexican borders.

The FBI and Justice Department have consistently maintained that Matricula Consular cards are highly susceptible to fraud. In fact, last year then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have allowed Matricula cards to be accepted for notarizations.

Nevada and, effective January 1, 2012, Illinois, are the only two states that specifically allow Notaries to accept Matricula cards as satisfactory evidence of identification for notarizations.

Currently the North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill that would prohibit local government officials from accepting the cards, a move that came in response the City of Durham passing a resolution that authorizes its police to accept Matricula cards.

The FBI and Justice Department have cited a number of problems with Matricula cards:

  • The government of Mexico has no centralized database to coordinate the issuance of consular ID cards. This allows multiple cards to be issued under the same name, the same address, or with the same photograph.
  • The cards are issued to anyone who can produce a Mexican birth certificate and one other form of identity, including documents of very low reliability. Mexican birth certificates are easy to forge and a major item of the fraudulent document trade currently flourishing across the country and around the world.
  • 2011 ID Checking Guide Some Mexican consulates issue Matricula cards to individuals unable to produce any documents whatsoever. In those cases, applicants complete a questionnaire that establishes their identity.
  • The Matricula is vulnerable to forgery, and many of the estimated 2 million in circulation are simply laminated cards without security features.

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