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Mexican Consul, Advocate of New ID Cards, Leaving

Diplomacy: Miguel Angel Isidro got police to accept the documents, reducing deportations.

June 01, 2002|JENNIFER MENA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Mexican consul in Orange County, who promoted the acceptance of Mexican identification cards by local police agencies, is leaving his post.

After three years in the job at the Santa Ana consulate, Miguel Angel Isidro will leave in August for Quezaltenango, Guatemala. The transfer is routine, Mexican officials said.

Isidro is credited with improving relations between Mexican immigrants and police, who frequently turned immigrants taken into custody over to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. In some cases, people were deported after minor traffic offenses because they could not show proof of identity.

Isidro was one of the Mexican consuls in the United States to help win acceptance of the identification card known as the matricula consular.

Immigrants who can show the card can avoid having their cases referred to INS officers stationed in some jails. Matriculas are now accepted as identification in several U.S. cities and some banks.

"I was just happy that we were able to help and develop a relationship with the departments," said Isidro, who lived in Orange after serving as consul in Phoenix and Hungary. "I think we also improved our service to the public."

With increased demand for matriculas, the consulate is now providing them for thousands of immigrants each month at walk-up windows in the Santa Ana office, consular officials said.

For his next assignment, Isidro will live in the colonial city of about 100,000 residents, many of them Quiche Indians, in Guatemala's western highlands. Although few Mexicans live there, Isidro will still deal with questions of immigration.

Explained an official of Mexico's Foreign Ministry: "Guatemala is an important place for Mexico. Now instead of dealing with migrants leaving Mexico, he will be dealing with Guatemalans trying to enter Mexico."

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