September 30, 2003


The Honorable,

The Board of Commissioners of Cook County





Chairman Daley, Vice Chairman Steele, Commissioners Butler, Claypool, Collins, Gorman, Goslin, Hansen, Maldonado, Moreno, Murphy, Quigley, Silvestri, Sims, Suffredin and President Stroger (16)



Commissioner Peraica (1)


Court Reporter:

Anthony W. Lisanti, C.S.R.


Ladies and Gentlemen:


        Your Committee on Finance of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County met pursuant to notice on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 at the hour of 10:00 AM in the Board Room, Room 569, County Building, 118 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois, to consider Communication Number 256565, a Proposed Ordinance Amendment amending Chapter 5-4, Departments and Agencies – Recognition of Matricula consular as Valid Identification.


        Your Committee has considered the following item and upon adoption of this report, the recommendation is as follows:



ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 5-4, DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES – RECOGNITION OF MATRICULA CONSULAR AS VALID IDENTIFICATION (PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDMENT).  Submitting a Proposed Ordinance sponsored by Roberto Maldonado, Joseph Mario Moreno and President John H. Stroger, Jr., County Commissioners; Co-Sponsored by Deborah Sims, Mike Quigley, Anthony J. Peraica, Forrest Claypool, Peter N. Silvestri, Bobbie L. Steele, Larry Suffredin, Earlean Collins, John P. Daley and Joan Patricia Murphy, County Commissioners.


The following is a synopsis of the Proposed Ordinance:




Section 1.  The Matricula Consular Ordinance, (02-O-27), amending Chapter 5, Departments and Agencies, General Provisions, of the Ordinances & Resolutions of Cook County is hereby amended by inserting the language underscored as follows:








(a) Recognition of Matricula Consular as valid identification.  When requiring members of the public to provide identification, each County department shall accept as valid identification of the person a “Matricula Consular” identification card issued by the Mexican Consulate.


(b) Recognition of other Matricula Consular as valid identification.  When requiring members of the public to provide identification, each County department shall accept as valid identification of the person a “Matricula Consular” identification card issued by any other Latin American country that is represented by a consulate office in Cook County, to its citizens or nationals if the issuing country’s consulate has certified that the identification card meets the following security requirements:


(i)         The issuing country authorizes the use of the card as an alternative to a passport for re-entry into the issuing country; and


(ii)        the card holder was required to provide proof of identity, nationality, and address in order to obtain the card; and


(iii)       the card has a photograph of the person and the person’s date of birth; and


(iv)       the card has physical security features reasonably designed to protect against fraud and counterfeit reproduction, including the use of bonded paper, lamination, a hologram, an embedded signature of the issuing officer, and serialization.


(c) The Chief Administrative Officer (“Officer”) shall compile and make available to County departments a list of the identification cards and the issuing countries that have been determined to meet the requirements of this section.


(d) The requirements of this section do not apply under circumstances where (1) a federal or state statute, administrative regulation or directive, or court decision requires the County to obtain different identification, (2) a federal or state statute or administrative regulation or directive preempts local regulation of identification requirements, or (3) the County would be unable to comply with a condition imposed by a funding source, which would cause the County to lose funds from that source.


(e) Nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the County department from (1) asking for additional information from individuals in order to verify a current address or other facts that would enable the department to fulfill its responsibilities, except that this section does not permit the department to require additional information solely because the Matricula Consular is the form of identification presented, (2) using fingerprints for identification purposes under circumstances where the department also requires fingerprints from persons who have a driver’s license or State identification card.


Section 2.       This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon approval.


Referred to the Committee on Finance on 12/17/02.


At the request of Chairman Daley, Michelle Harris, Secretary to the Board of Commissioners, announced two documents from Commissioner Hansen were distributed to the Commissioners earlier.


Chairman Daley entered into the record the correspondence from Commissioner Hansen, which is attached hereto and made a part hereof.


Chairman Daley announced that the order of the meeting would be as follows:  the public would speak first, followed by Commissioner Maldonado who would present the amended ordinance, then general discussion/debate among the commissioners.


Commissioner Maldonado, seconded by Commissioner Moreno, moved that the Ordinance (Communication Number 256565) be approved and adopted.


Chairman Daley asked the Secretary to the Board to call upon the registered public speakers.


The following people offered public testimony:


1.      Alexandre Addor-Neto – Consul General of Brazil.  Written statement also distributed.

2.      Jose E. Lopez – Executive Director, Puerto Rican Cultural Center

3.      Patricia Mendoza – Civil Rights Bureau Chief, Illinois Attorney General’s Office

4.      Jorge Burbano – President, Latinos Unidos En El Nuevo Milenio

5.      Shary E. Mijangos-Thiel – Consul General of Guatemala

6.      Peter Garza – President, Hispanic Illinois State Law Enforcement Association


Commissioner Maldonado clarified that the ordinance amendment would expand acceptance of the Matricula Consular to include all Latin American countries.  He noted that Section 5-4 (d) of the proposed ordinance amendment defends the use of this identification card under federal or state law.  He clarified that counterfeiting the Matricula Consular is extremely difficult because of the technology used in manufacturing it and also because of the fingerprinting requirement, as referenced in Section 5-4 (e) of the proposed ordinance amendment.  He also noted that any U.S. document, including currency has been counterfeited.


Commissioner Maldonado referred to remarks made by several witnesses at a series of congressional hearings before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration.  Commissioner Maldonado said that testimony from Steve McCraw of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Craig Nelsen, Executive Director of Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement, has been taken out of context in the debate over Matricula Consular.


Commissioner Maldonado also referred to a published report from several weeks ago, in which a janitor was accused of illegally obtaining matricula consular cards.  The story was later determined to be unfounded.


Commissioner Maldonado noted that there is no need to prohibit the Matricula Consular with respect to banking because it is not in violation of the RICO Act.  Commissioner Maldonado further noted that no court has ruled against the constitutionality of the Matricula Consular.  He further noted that there are 30 states that accept it, 14 states that accept it in the obtaining of drivers licenses, 943 sheriffs and police departments that accept it, as well as 36 counties and 119 cities.  Lastly, Commissioner Maldonado noted that 38,000 troops in the Iraq war, mostly Hispanic, were non-citizens.


President Stroger asked to be listed as a sponsor of the proposed ordinance amendment.


Commissioner Maldonado stated that the following three Commissioners have asked to be added as co-sponsors of the proposed ordinance amendment:  Chairman Daley and Commissioners Murphy and Collins.


Commissioner Maldonado stated that at the appropriate time, he would introduce amendments to the item, which will further clarify the security requirements and the role of the Chief Administrative Officer.


At the request of Chairman Daley, Commissioner Maldonado distributed three (3) amendments to Communication Number 256565.


Commissioner Maldonado, seconded by Vice Chairman Steele, moved approval of the following amendments to Communication Number 256565:


            Ch. 5-4 (b).  Line 6.  …nationals if the issuing country’s consulate has certified to the County


            Ch. 5-4 (b) (iii).  The card has a photograph of the person, and the person’s date of birth and the person’s current local address; and


            Ch. 5-4 (c).  The Chief Administrative Officer (“Officer”) shall develop procedures and compile and make available to the Board of Commissioners and County departments a list of the identification cards and the issuing countries that have certified to the Officer that their identification card have been determined to meets the requirements of this section.


The motion to approve the amendments carried unanimously.


Commissioner Hansen made the distinction that the representatives of the Latin American countries are members of the consular core, as opposed to being members of the diplomatic core, which is authorized by the U.S. State Department.  He noted that Stroger Hospital does not turn away any person because of lack of documentation.  He stated that by giving the Matricula Consular to only certain countries in the Western Hemisphere, the ordinance is exclusionary.  He stated that the issue of the Matricula Consular is an issue that should be resolved at the federal level and noted that the United States Department of Justice is clearly against the issuance of the Matricula Consular.  Commissioner Hansen believes there is a national and international security risk in issuing the Matricula Consular.  From the testimony of Steve McCraw, Commissioner Hansen noted that the government of Mexico has no centralized database for the Matricula Consular, and this allows multiple cards to be made under the same name.  Further, the Mexican government requires a Mexican birth certificate, which is easy to counterfeit, or other unreliable documents.  Commissioner Hansen said a valid passport is a better alternative to a matricula consular card.


Commissioner Maldonado, seconded by Commissioner Moreno, moved that the Ordinance (Communication Number 256565) be approved and adopted, as amended.  Commissioner Hansen called for a Roll Call, the vote of yeas and nays being as follows:







Chairman Daley, Vice Chairman Steele, Commissioners Claypool, Collins, Maldonado, Moreno, Quigley, Silvestri and Suffredin (9)



Commissioners Gorman, Goslin and Hansen (3)



Commissioners Butler, Murphy, Peraica, Sims and President Stroger (5)




Commissioner Maldonado moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Commissioner Moreno.  The motion carried and the meeting was adjourned.




Respectfully submitted,

Committee on Finance





John P. Daley, Chairman







Michelle Harris, Secretary



The transcript for this meeting is available in the Office of the Secretary to the Board, 118 North Clark Street, Room 567, Chicago, IL  60602