Headline: Some banks accept Mexican ID cards
Mexican nationals who live in the country and still don1t have an official identification card no longer need to keep their money under the mattress.Although some Mexican immigrants still can1t get a U.S. ID card, they can apply at their consulate for a 3Matricula Consular, which some banks in Colorado now accept to open accounts.In the first three months of 2002, the Consulate of Mexico in Denver issued more than 8,000 3Matriculas Consulares, said Javier Chagoya, deputy consul at the consulate.Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank accept Matriculas Consulares as proof of identification and part of the documents needed by Mexican immigrants to open bank accounts, transfer money internationally and conduct other financial transactions.Alpine Bank and FirstBank, which serve a large population of Hispanics in the Vail Valley and the Roaring Fork Valley, aren1t accepting the Mexican ID card yet but bank officials said they are looking into the issue and might be accepting the ID soon.3We1re very interested in learning more about the issuance of the Matricula, said John Cooper, executive director of marketing with Alpine Bank. 3At this time we1re visiting with the consulate in Denver so we can make an informed decision as soon as possible.Firstbank3It1s something that hit our radar screen in the past weeks, said Tammy Keffeler, executive vice president of 1stBank. 3We would like to accept the IDs, but we need to gather more information.The Matriculas Consulares are official photo IDs issued by the government of Mexico to its citizens who live and work in the United States.Until now, a Mexican national without a U.S. ID proving an address in this country have been unable to open a bank account. Also, it has been difficult for them to transfer money back to their families in Mexico.3We are working so hard in order that this document is recognized by different organizations in addition to the banks, Chagoya said.As a result of the growing Hispanic population, a number of police agencies in other states have agreed to recognize the ID cards as legitimate proof of identification.3We1ve send information on the Matriculas Consulares to all the sheriffs in the state, Chagoya said. 3Many sheriffs in the state already recognize this ID.Although the Mexican government began issuing Matriculas Consulares more than 20 years ago, the issuance of the ID card has doubledin the past couple of years, Chagoya said. In 2000, the consulate in Denver issued 20,000 IDs in 2001, compared to 9,000 in 2000. Forty-six consulates of Mexico in the United States are issuing the document, which is valid for five years.3The increment is because people want a document to get identified, Chagoya said. 3This is not a solution to immigration issues, it1s just an ID. The main purpose of this document is to register the Mexicans living abroad.To open an account and do other transactions, banks ask for an ID that is officially recognized<such as a drivers license. Another form of identification has to be presented with the Mexican ID. Bank accounts also require either a Social Security number or a U.S. tax ID number.3A bank won1t recognize an address unless it1s in the U.S., Chagoya said. 3The Matricula Consular shows that.Chagoya declined to speculate about whether most of the applicants are illegal immigrants in the United States who can1t get U.S. drivers licences or other IDs that still are not available to undocumented immigrants in Colorado.In February, the state Senate Government, Veterans and Military Relations and Transportation Committee killed Senate Bill 67, which would have allowed undocumented immigrants to get a Colorado driver license or a identification card.3I can1t say if these people are illegal, Chagoya said. 3We don1t ask for a visa when they apply for a Matricula Consular. We1re not the INS.3A lot of Mexicans ask us, OWhat benefits am I going to get from this?1This ID card doesn1t provide benefits, just rights and obligations.To get a Matricula Consular, Mexicans have to show their birthday certificate, election credential or Mexican passport, any document with a photo and fingerprints.The ID cards, which cost $29, are also useful for travel to Mexico, Chagoya said.Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or firstname.lastname@example.org.