"Napa council OKs Mexican ID card"

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From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

An ID card issued by the Mexican government [see this backgrounder on these "Matricula Consular" cards]gained significant backing Tuesday in Wine Country as the Napa City Council voted unanimously to recognize it as valid identification...

The cards, however, have become a hot-button issue in the immigration debate, with critics saying they give legitimacy to illegal immigrants and pose a threat to homeland security...

"It's a symbolic gesture as well as it does help our police," Napa Mayor Ed Henderson said. "It provides dignity to our Hispanic workers..."

The City Council vote was met with cheers by the audience of about three dozen people, including San Franciso's consul general of Mexico.

"I always say the hardest part is getting the first one to do it," said Consul General Georgina Lagos Donde, adding that she hopes the Napa vote influences other cities in Wine Country, which relies heavily on Mexican vineyard labor.

"I've already been in touch with the mayors of Sonoma and Petaluma," she said.

Napa Police Chief Dan Monez spearheaded the effort to accept the cards... "They live here. They work here. Their kids go to school here. They shop in our stores ... It lets them be themselves."

Not everyone sees it that way.

A Colorado congressman [Tom Tancredo] has introduced legislation that would make it illegal for federal agencies to accept the card. And a number of cities, including New York, have refused to accept the cards, citing security questions.

In September, the California Legislature passed a resolution urging cities to accept the cards... In December 2001, San Francisco County became the first in the country to accept the cards as legal identification. Santa Clara County and Oakland since have passed similar resolutions...

This article is somewhat balanced. However, it uses the phrase "illegal immigrants" just once, referring to them elsewhere as "Mexican nationals living in the United States," "People without the legal paperwork to live north of the border," and "Hispanic workers." And, why isn't Tancredo named?

And, as I blogged in January:

12 House members questioned the propriety of the [Matricula Consular] cards...

"While the issuance of national identification cards is nothing new, providing them with the express purpose of evading U.S. law is something entirely different," the lawmakers said. "The active lobbying of local and state governments by consuls of foreign countries is, at least, a breach of international protocol deserving of a serious response by our government."

Apparently, Consul General Georgina Lagos Donde received no such serious response from the State Department, and is even able to make the outrageous statements reprinted above with impunity.

Perhaps the Napa officials who pushed this through should ask themselves which country they represent.

Note also that Nancy Pelosi tried to get a federal building in S.F. to accept these cards. As her spokeswoman explained, she was doing it for her "constituents." She also owns a couple of small vineyards in the Napa valley.

Contact information for Sonoma Mayor Dick Ashford is here.

Contact information for Petaluma Mayor David Glass is here.