HOUSE COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION
May 4, 2005 Portland, OR
2:00 P.M. NO TAPE
MEMBERS PRESENT: Rep. George Gilman, Chair
Rep. Terry Beyer, Vice-Chair
Rep. Chuck Burley, Vice-Chair
Rep. Kim Thatcher
MEMBERS EXCUSED: Rep. Deborah Boone
Rep. Scott Bruun
Rep. Dave Hunt
STAFF PRESENT: Patrick Brennan, Committee Administrator
Mike Reiley, Committee Assistant
Tour of the Mexican Consulate in Portland
The House Committee on Transportation traveled to Portland, OR, to tour the facilities of the Mexican Consulate. The tour was given by Fernando Sanchez Ugarte, Consul, and Luis Elias, Chancellor. The tour was a fact-finding excursion designed to help committee members and staff learn more about the process by which citizens of Mexico may gain identifying documents while traveling to or living in Oregon.
The House Committee on Transportation has had under consideration during the 2005 Legislative Session a number of different bill dealing with documents used for issuance of driver’s licenses by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). One source for documents that may currently be used to acquire an Oregon driver’s license is the Mexican Consulate.
Registration of foreign nationals through consular offices is a practice recognized by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Mexican consulates throughout the United States have been issuing identifying certificates, known as Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridad, or MCAS (also known as “matricular cards”) since 1871. By issuing matricular cards and registering Mexican nationals, consular officers are able to provide protection, access to consular services, and communication with relatives and authorities in Mexico.
Applicants for a matricular card are required to meet four basic requirements:
Matricular cards are issued for five years. The Mexican government maintains a database which consulates may use to verify identities and to check whether the applicant is on a “stop list” of individuals not allowed to obtain documents from the Mexican government.
Statistics provided by the Consulate indicate that in 2004 matricular cards were accepted as a valid identification card in 377 cities, 163 counties, 178 financial institutions, and 1,180 police departments in the United States. Twelve states, including Oregon, accept matricular cards as one of the proofs of identity necessary to obtain a driver’s license.
Committee members were given a tour of the consular facilities and a demonstration of how matricular cards are issued. Following the tour, Consul Fernando Sanchez Ugarte and Chancellor Luis Elias provided additional information and made themselves available to answer questions regarding the matricular card program. Questions included security precautions taken when issuing cards and security features of matricular cards, the types of documents issued by the Mexican government that may be used when applying for a matricular card, and the policies of other states with regard to matricular cards.