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Friday, June 18, 2004

Charleston.Net: Local News: Mexicans can register for documentation 06/18/04

Charleston.Net: Local News: Mexicans can register for documentation 06/18/04

Story last updated at 7:10 a.m. Friday, June 18, 2004


Mexicans can register for documentation

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

BY JAMES SCOTT
Of The Post and Courier Staff
For more information on securing a Mexican ID or passport call Omar at 478-7316.

For information about CAFE, visit www.cafesc.org.

Officials with the Mexican Consulate will be in Charleston on Saturday, offering citizens of that country the opportunity to get a passport or official Mexican identification card that allows undocumented residents the chance to open bank accounts and, in some states, get driver's licenses.

Mexican citizens are expected to be able to register and receive documentation from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the International Longshoremen's Association Union Hall at 1142 Morrison Drive.

Yadira Omar, who is organizing the event on behalf of the Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment, said this is the fourth year the organization has offered this service. Last year, she said more than 700 Mexicans registered for documents.

"This gives the right identification to people," said Omar. "This helps people open checking accounts and send money to Mexico with better rates."

Mexican identification cards, which are officially called matricula consular cards, were first introduced by the Mexican government in the 1870s to help consular offices serve expatriates.

In 2002, the Mexican government introduced a new card with extra security features, including invisible coding that can be read only with special detectors.

Today, Mexican nationals can purchase the cards at any of about 65 consular offices around the United States, including ones in Raleigh and Atlanta. Mexico has no consular office in South Carolina, which is why officials from the Raleigh office make the yearly trip to Charleston.

Omar said the card costs $26 and requires a person to produce a birth certificate, two photo IDs and proof of residence, such as a phone or electric bill. A one-year passport costs $30, a five-year passport, $80.


James Scott can be reached at 745-5855 or jscott@postandcourier.com.

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