Look at The Matricula Consular: the Mexican ID Card
plastic card is making a big impact on the lives of U.S. Latinos.
The matricula consular, or "consular registration," is
an identification card provided by the government of Mexico to its
citizens residing in the U.S.
from any of 47 Mexican Consulates across the country, the matricula
consular is increasingly being accepted by businesses, local governments
and other organizations to meet proof of identity requirements for
obtaining such services as bank accounts, health care and library
praised and criticized for the access it allows the Mexican community
for further acceptance and integration into American society, the
matricula consular is stirring a debate over immigrant rights.
exactly is the matricula consular? Why is it such a hot topic? And
what does it mean for marketers?
from new, the matricula consular became more popular when the immigration
reform talks between Mexico's President Vicente Fox and Bush broke
down post-September 11. Since then, more than 1.4 million cards
have been issued, with estimates for another 1.5 million this year.
card is available to all Mexican citizens, but is most often used
by undocumented Mexicans as a form of identification. In order to
obtain a card, applicants must present proof of Mexican citizenship,
proof of U.S. residence, a photo ID and a $28 cash fee.
card is not a visa, green card or passport. It does not give access
to welfare or health programs. Possession of the card does not alter
the bearer's immigration status, or promote amnesty- it simply establishes
proof of identity.
than 80 financial institutions accept the matricula consular, including
Wells Fargo, which has established more than 80,000 new bank accounts
in the last two years to customers presenting the card along with
other documents such as a tax ID number.
have the approval of the Department of Treasury, which views the
cards as a way of stimulating the economy. Banks get to diversify
their portfolios and increase their profits, while immigrants establish
credit for the purchase of larger ticket items, and work toward
qualifying for home ownership.
also get to tap into the flow of more than $10 billion sent home
annually by citizens of Mexico, who at the same time are protected
from price gouging for services such as wire transfers.
The buck doesn't stop there. The matricula consular also affords
access to other goods and services, such as driver licenses and
in-state tuition rates at public universities, and everyday occurrences
such as boarding planes and entering public buildings where a photo
ID is required.
more than 900 police departments and municipalities accept the card
as proof of identity, it is cited as a way to increase community
cooperation with local law enforcement agencies -- by removing the
fear of deportation due to lack of ID.
perceive this as a fast track to the American dream and a form of
"backdoor amnesty," which rewards illegal aliens with
rights and services reserved for documented immigrants and U.S.
citizens, and encourages illegal immigration.
most notably the FBI, have expressed concerns regarding the card's
vulnerability to fraud and forgery, with supporters responding that
such consequences are not unique to the matricula consular: passports,
driver's licenses and other ID cards issued by the U.S government
are often used to falsify identity.
of the point of view, the matricula consular is certain to have
a lasting influence on marketing to Latinos.
Impact On Marketers
matricula consular reflects the economic and social significance
of 60 percent of the US Hispanic population - the 20 million Mexican
immigrants - who live in the United States and pay taxes.
it acknowledges the market potential of this historically significant
group and further strengthens measures to quantify its size and
spending power. The matricula consular also creates new marketing
opportunities for service companies - banks, financial services,
insurance, education, real estate - and retail outlets from video
rental to warehouse clubs.
obtaining access and fair treatment to these goods and services,
the Mexican immigrant population will continue to contribute to
the economic well being of the United States.