Hundreds of Mexican nationals who live in Oklahoma spent Saturday morning at Chelino’s restaurant in Bricktown, where the Mexican consulate from Little Rock, Ark., had set up a temporary office. Some were in line for passports, but most were requesting matriculas consulares, popular Mexican ID cards that are not legally recognized in Oklahoma under the state’s tough immigration law. The 650 people who showed up represent a small portion of Oklahoma’s immigrants who need the consul’s documentation services.
Proving identityAndres Chao, Mexican consul in Little Rock, said many local Hispanic immigrants have trouble getting state-issued IDs, because they do not have their birth certificates or other documents. Matriculas, while not recognized as official IDs by the state, are useful for opening bank accounts and proving identity, he said. Sergio, a roofer who did not give his last name, was among those waiting to get a consular card. He said he came to Oklahoma from Durango, Mexico, about 12 years ago, and he and his wife are raising two U.S.-born children. He said HB 1804 has not negatively affected his family or friends.
Open communicationChao said the Mexican consulate respects state laws, but the best way to work together is to keep the channels of communication open. Chao’s consulate opened in April 2007 and has issued more than 30,000 documents to Mexicans in Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma and western Tennessee.