During testimony by the co-Directors of the TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC), opposing Rep. William Lamberth’s bill that would prohibit municipalities from creating their own local identity card programs and from accepting the matricula consular card as an identification document, the TIRRC leaders admitted that immigrants who primarily rely on the matricula card are “people who do not have immigration status.”
Lamberth’s bill is consistent with Tennessee law that prohibits using the matricula consular card to get a state driver license.
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.
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.
Stephanie Teatro and Lindsey Harris the TIRRC co-directors, tried to convince the committee that not allowing people “without immigration status” to use the matricula consular card for identification, would create hardships for them in different circumstances such as when they seek medical care, immunizations for themselves and their children, or when trying to gain entry to schools in which their children are enrolled.
Illegal aliens in the U.S. would have no need to use the matricula consular for identification if they were able to obtain U.S. government-issued documents. A valid passport issued by the Mexican government is accepted as an identification document.
Teatro told the legislators that other forms of identification are prohibitive and that the Mexican consulate hosts visits to Tennessee monthly to issue the matricula consular cards.
The Migration Policy Institute, funded in part by the George Soros Open Society Foundations, also admits that the matricula consular card which gives “undocumented immigrants a sense of security” is used by people who have no “legal right to live and work in America” and who cannot prove their own identity:
Lack of identification prevents undocumented immigrants from accessing the few public and private services that are available to them and intensifies their fear of contact with police and other official institutions.
Without valid proof of identity as determined by state law or a drivers license, illegal aliens driving without either, are at risk for arrest. Protectionist immigration lawyers like Elliott Ozment in Nashville have repeatedly warned that an illegal alien driving without a license can end up in deportation proceedings.
According to Metro Nashville Police Chief Anderson, the department’s policy when interacting with immigrants, is that “[i]mmigration status is not a relevant consideration in most interactions with immigrants” except in a potential “arrest situation” where, “verification of identification is most often the significant consideration in determining eligibility for a citation in lieu of continued custody.”
And TIRRC’s representatives understand that if Lamberth’s bill passes and is signed into law, illegal immigrants are less likely to produce an identity document that helps them avoid being arrested.
Up until the admission by Stephanie Teatro from TIRRC that the people most likely to rely on the matricula consular are those who have not legal or lawful immigration status, it looked as if the House State Government Subcommittee was not going to pass Lamberth’s bill.
However, once TIRRC opened that door, Lamberth said – “they have proven my point.” He added, that “illegal immigrants use the matricula consular to obtain services here and to avoid deportation.”
Lamberth, a former prosecutor, also impressed upon the subcommittee members that law enforcement can’t run that card through a database to verify a person’s identity.
After lengthy discussion, the bill was passed and will next be heard by the full House State Government Committee.