Passing his bill with a vote of 72-23 and one abstention, Rep William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) offered a compelling argument that consular cards were not designed nor intended to be used in this country for identification purposes by people legally in this country and his bill would prevent Tennessee from following the example of other states that have chosen to accept consular cards as a valid form of identification:
I humbly think our citizens should be safer and in a better position than any other state in the union.
Lamberth, a former Sumner County prosecutor, explained that some states have chosen to accept consular cards as a valid form of identification even though the cards were not designed or intended for that purpose.
During hearings on Lamberth’s bill in the House State Government Committee, a representative from the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), confirmed that consular cards issued by foreign consulate offices, are used by foreign governments to locate its nationals who are in the U.S. and in some instances, collect taxes from them.
In their testimony opposing Lamberth’s bill, the co-Directors of TIRRC admitted that immigrants who primarily rely on consular cards are “people who do not have immigration status” and that the Mexican consulate visits Tennessee monthly to issue its consular cards.
Lamberth’s bill also prohibits municipalities from creating their own local identity card programs unless they are authorized by the legislature or required by federal law.
During Nashville’s last mayoral race all of the candidates including Megan Barry endorsed creating a local identification card program that would include illegal aliens. This has become a popular program in sanctuary cities that help illegal aliens access certain public services and appear as if they are lawfully present. In other cities the cards have also helped illegal aliens avoid arrest and possible deportation during traffic stops.
Current Nashville mayoral candidate and Metro Nashville Council member Erica Gilmore voted to support a Metro ordinance that would have made Nashville the most liberal sanctuary city in the U.S.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago-issued municipal ID card available to illegal aliens will be accepted as valid voter identification.
In Cincinnati, working with local law enforcement and city officials, Catholic Charities is producing and providing the municipal ID card to immigrants in the city who don’t have or can’t obtain U.S. government identification.
People cannot enter the U.S. with permission using a consular card but are required to use documents like unexpired passports, visas and border crossing cards.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service does not accept the consular card as proof of identity for the employment eligibility verification form associated with the E-verify system.
The Senate companion bill sponsored by Sen. Mark Green was passed 5-1 with 2 not voting by the Senate State and Local Government Committee but has not yet been scheduled for a vote by the full Senate.