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Latino Daily News

Friday January 21, 2011

Texas Bill Could Deny Mexican Consulate Staff Entry to Any Public, State Schools

Texas Bill Could Deny Mexican Consulate Staff Entry to Any Public, State Schools

Photo: State Rep. Allen Fletcher

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

A Texas state representative is trying to “send a message” to undocumented immigrants, by drafting and filing a bill that looks to deny entry onto public schools and state universities to foreign consular officials that arrive to help anyone obtain non-U.S. identification cards.

State Representative Allen Fletcher, who wrote House Bill 428 that was just filed, said, “The bottom line is we’re trying to keep foreign consuls from being on our campuses. I don’t like them using our public facilities and our schools to basically access the foreign nationals that are in our country and give them an opportunity to take advantage of our benefits when they’re here illegally.”

The Matrícula Consular de Alta Seguridad (MCAS or Consular Identification Card) is an identification card issued to Mexican nationals residing outside of Mexico regardless of their immigration status. The card is issued by the Government of Mexico through their consulate offices.

During his interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, the state rep., who spent 21 years with the Houston Police Department admitted to not knowing exactly what the cards can be used for, but added, ““Basically a matrícula card is just some legitimate form of ID. I would think that if you have that matrícula card you have an ID that allows you to basically interject yourself into the system,”

Fletcher, a “career enforcement guy” was asked what someone needs to gain the identification cards and said he was unsure, but stated, “…Probably tell them your name is Allen Fletcher, and they crank it out for you. I’m under the impression, based on what I’ve seen that they’re not really requiring (applicants) to provide much of anything.”

In the interview Fletcher mentioned that though he thinks a similar bill will never pass in Texas, he is a supporter of Arizona’s SB 1070.  The controversial law allows for local officers to ask for proof of immigration status if they have “reasonable suspicion” to think someone is in the country illegally. Fletcher expressed that instead of trying to pass big law changing bills like SB 1070, Texas lawmakers are looking to smaller bills to “send a message” to anyone in the country without documentation.

“(HB 428) is a judicious way for us to start putting things in place to make it more difficult for them to access our public benefits illegally. So we’re hoping this will get their attention and let them know: ‘You’re not going to go onto our school grounds, you’re not going to go onto our public facilities and issue these cards, without making sure that folks have a legitimate right to have the card’.”