Hal Netkin, PO Box 3465, Van Nuys, CA 91407

Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger
State Capital Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

November 5, 2004      Open letter to Governor Arnold schwartzenegger

Dear Governor Schwartzenegger:

I heard a recording of you being interviewed on the John and Ken radio talk show regarding driver licenses for illegal immigrants based on information from the Matricula Consular ID. You said that 50 percent of Matricula Consular IDs are fake. You are so right.

Several years ago, while walking down Alvarado Blvd in the MacArthur Park area where there is a large fake document industry, with my Latina wife and her Latina niece, a fake ID vendor was undeterred by my blond hair and blue eyes when he brazenly asked the two women in Spanish if they were in need of fake documents. From that experience, I knew that there was virtually zero risk in doing my own personal unofficial investigation as to the ease in purchasing my own fake Matricula, so I obtained one for myself and recently, obtained the enclosed one for you.

A newer version of the Matricula Consular ID which the Mexican government lauds as "non-forgeble" is the type presently being issued and which supersedes an earlier version issued until 2002. The earlier  version has expiration dates to 2007. Because the validity of the previous version is hard to tell even by Mexican authorities, it has become the choice of those desiring fake Matricula Consular IDs. Your Matricula Consular ID is the earlier version.

The Mexican Government claims that their new "secure" ID card cannot be foiled because law enforcement authorities can use a  transparent plastic decoder to test a street manufactured Matricula against a Matricula produced by the Mexican Consulate. However, it should be noted that the physical "authenticity" of the Matricula card should be regarded as one of the less relevant security concerns, since even "genuine" Matriculas can be obtained fraudulently if the applicant presents to the consulate, an easily forged birth certificate. Moreover, from a California Public Information Request, here in Los Angeles, rank and file LAPD officers do not carry decoder kits nor are they even required to verify the authenticity of Matricula Cards.

I am in disbelief when I hear local law enforcement and legislative officials say that the IDs give local government the opportunity to verify the identity of the card carrier. But as stated, there is no way to verify the information on the card. An illegal alien criminal who arrived last week has no criminal history on file in the U.S. It is noteworthy that a postmortem background check of all nineteen 9-11 terrorists who all had valid driver's licenses, revealed that they did not have any criminal record. That shouldn't be surprising since there was no criminal history on any of them in the U.S.

Beyond a list of those to whom the IDs have been issued, the Mexican Consulate does not have a comprehensive data base on all the current holders of Matricula cards. There is absolutely no way for a police officer to do an on-the-spot  "make" on someone using the card.

Frequently, when some law enforcement officials are reminded about the ease of producing fake Matriculas, they counter that California driver licenses can also be easily forged (and they are). But such statements reflect either purposeful deceit or gross naivety. In a scenario where a person presents a fake California driver license to a law enforcement officer, that officer upon accessing information on his/her mobile computer or by radio call to Sacramento, would know instantly that the driver license presented is a fake and would have probable cause to arrest the suspect for attempting to deceive the officer. But in a scenario where a person presented a fake Matricula, there would be absolutely no way for a law enforcement officer to verify the validity of the ID. The officer would have to allow the Matricula holder to go on his/her way without knowing if that person was wanted for any crime by any law enforcement agency.

The Matricula Consular IDs are so unreliable, that a Mexican or Mexican-American fugitive who already has a valid California driver license could easily get a new identity by obtaining an unverifiable Matricula and using it instead of the valid license.

I have enclosed an Editorial printed in the Los Angeles Daily News dealing with both Matricula Consular IDs and driver licenses for illegal immigrants.


Hal Netkin

CC:   John and Ken KFI talk show.
ENC: Los Angeles Daily News editorial by Hal Netkin
Letter from LAPD