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Notary Bulletin

North Carolina Legislature Mulling Matricula Ban

A bill working its way through the North Carolina General Assembly would prohibit state and local government officials from accepting Matricula Consular cards or similar documents issued by foreign consulates as proof of identity. The measure was passed by the House of Representatives and is now before the state Senate.

House Bill 33 also seeks to ban any local government from enacting a policy or ordnance making Matricula cards acceptable. This legislation was introduced after the city of Durham, North Carolina, passed a resolution permitting local police to accept Matricula Consular cards, which are issued by Mexican consulates to its citizens living outside Mexican borders.

Under North Carolina law, Notaries are not allowed to accept Matricula cards as satisfactory evidence of ID when performing notarizations. State law defines satisfactory evidence of identification as a current ID document issued by a federal or state, or federal- or state-recognized tribal government agency that includes the individual’s photograph and signature or physical description. Foreign passports also are acceptable.

Federal officials have consistently maintained that Matricula Consular cards are highly susceptible to fraud. The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI cite the following major deficiencies of the Matricula Consular card:

  • The government of Mexico has no centralized database to coordinate the issuance of consular ID cards. This allows multiple cards to be issued under the same name, the same address, or with the same photograph.
  • The Mexican government has no interconnected databases to provide inter-consular communication to verify who has or has not applied for or received a consular ID card.
  • The cards are issued to anyone who can produce a Mexican birth certificate and one other form of identity, including documents of very low reliability. Mexican birth certificates are easy to forge and a major item of the fraudulent document trade currently flourishing across the country and around the world.
  • Some Mexican consulates issue Matricula cards to individuals unable to produce any documents whatsoever. In those cases, applicants complete a questionnaire that establishes their identity.
  • The Matricula is vulnerable to forgery, and a large portion of the estimated 2 million in circulation are simply laminated cards without security features.

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