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Notary Bulletin

Golden State Moving To Make Unreliable ID Valid For Notarizations

CALIFORNIA — The forgery-prone Mexican Matricula Consular identification card has moved a step closer to becoming an officially acceptable ID for notarizations throughout the Golden State. Despite continued assertions from the FBI that the card is unreliable and open to abuse, the California State Assembly recently voted to approve Assembly Bill (AB) 442. The measure now is pending before the state Senate.

The Matricula is issued by Mexican consulates to its citizens. But the FBI says the card often is issued to people with questionable foundation documents, such as a birth certificate — which in Mexico is quite easy to forge because there is no centralized database. Many Mexican citizens lack birth certificates and obtain a Matricula on the basis of a questionnaire and a personal interview with a consular officer.

The Matricula also fails the guidelines for acceptable ID currently required in California. Although it has a photograph and signature, there is no physical description of the bearer. Prior to the introduction of AB 442, Notaries could accept Mexican driver’s licenses and passports as valid IDs. Like their U.S. counterparts, these documents measured up to the stringent guidelines set by California to stem fraud and abuse.

The NNA opposes AB 442 and urges members of the state Assembly to vote against it. In a letter to the Assembly, NNA Executive Director Timothy S. Reiniger wrote: “In this era of rampant document fraud and identity theft, requirements for establishing proof of identification should be tightened rather than compromised.” NNA Ambassadors also made their voices heard, contacting their Assembly members in opposition to the bill.

An analysis of the bill for the Assembly Committee on Judiciary reported that Mexican authorities had taken steps to improve the card’s security and reliability, but noted that the card continues to be issued based on unreliable documents, making the Matricula less secure than a driver’s license or passport.

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