August 12, 2004

Los Angeles: Invitation to Another 9/11
Editorial to be featured in the Los Angeles Daily News
By Hal Netkin

Recently, when I was listening to the 9/11 Commission Hearings, Commissioner John Lehman asked this question of Condoleezza Rice: “Were you aware that it was the U.S. government established policy not to question or oppose the sanctuary policies of New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, San Diego for political reasons, which policy in those cities prohibited the local police from cooperating at all with federal immigration authorities?” Condoleezza Rice responded: “I do not believe I was aware of that.”

Apparently, Condoleezza Rice is unaware that Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, a city which makes it a point to welcome and legitimize illegal aliens by recognizing Matricula Consular ID cards issued by the Mexican government to its citizens abroad. While the vast majority of illegal aliens are not security risks, Sheriff Lee Baca’s jail, in which 23% of the inmates are illegal aliens, is strong evidence that law enforcement can’t tell the difference between the “good” illegal aliens from the “bad” ones.

The Mexican Government has successfully lobbied the City Council to accept as valid identification, the Mexican ID card known as the Matricula Consular. The only Mexicans in need of the Matricula IDs are those who are illegally present in the U.S. -- all others legally present, have a passport or green card which is acceptable identification by the U.S. federal government. The ID cards, which do not bear the holder's fingerprints, are issued without requiring the applicant to submit to a criminal background check. Although LAPD officers must accept the card as official identification when issuing a citation, the card's information cannot be verified or used to check criminal records or immigration status.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration last June, Steve McCraw, assistant director of the FBI's Office of Intelligence, said that the Bureau and the Justice Department have concluded that the card is not a reliable means of identification. Mr. McCraw warned that the "ability of foreign nationals to use the Matricula consular to create a well-documented, but fictitious, identity in the United States provides an opportunity for terrorists to move freely in the United States without triggering name-based watch lists that are disseminated to local police officers. It also allows them to board planes without revealing their true identity."

In June of 2002, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo announced that should the Bush administration ask local government to help enforce federal immigration law, L.A. would not cooperate. And according to the June 23, 2003 edition of La Opinion, Los Angeles City Attorney, Rocky Delgadillo virtually dismissed the FBI's warning, and agreed with Martha Lara, general consul of Mexico, that the the Matriculas were unforgeable.

In spite of the fact that Los Angeles is clearly in violation of the U.S. Constitution, Section 8, Clause 3, which states: “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, ...enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power...”, the Los Angeles City Council with no objection from LAPD Chief Bratton, voted to accept the Matricula card after a six month test period, as an official identification for Mexican nationals.

Not to be outdone, the Guatemalan Congress has approved a "Tarjeta de Identificacion Consular" which the City Council has already said it will recognize along with all other countries that want to jump on the sham ID band wagon.

In January of 2003, I requested, from the LAPD, under the California Public Information Act, information about the preceding six month pilot program to test the Matricula ID. I asked the LAPD the following two questions: During the six month test period, how many persons were cited for infractions whose only form of identification was the Matricula Consular ID? And, how many persons were arrested whose only form of identification was the Matricula Consular ID? The LAPD answered by saying that the Matricula ID pilot program was NEVER tested.

On April 8, 2004, as reported by CNN, an entire group of 88 illegal aliens boarded an airliner from Los Angeles to Newark, NJ, using counterfeit Matricula IDs. We don't know if any of the aliens were terrorists, but what we do know is that any terrorist could have easily obtained a counterfeit Matricula and boarded any domestic American flight, no questions asked.

Previous claims by Ex-cop Councilman Dennis Zine that the Mexican consulate does a background check of all Matricula Consular ID card holders is based on hearsay -- there is no such background check. I should know, as I have a brother-in-law in the U.S. illegally, who holds a "genuine" Mexican Matricula ID card.

While the City Council insists that the problem of illegal immigration is strictly one for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, they seem to be oblivious to the fact that when the City of Los Angeles negotiates with a foreign country to accept that country's identification for its nationals, the city is itself making immigration policy.

The Matricula cards are easily forged and are sold in the open in the MacArthur park area of Los Angeles. After a detective in the “Forgery” section of the LAPD told me that it is not illegal to posses a fake ID as long as the ID did not bear a government seal (foreign seals are not acceptable), I decided to obtained one for myself which I did from a street vendor for $40.00 -- no questions asked.

Experts might be able to tell the difference between the "real" Matricula and a fake one, but obviously, the Continental Airlines agents who allowed 88 illegal aliens to board the plane, weren't experts -- and neither are LAPD cops.

The Los Angeles City council is so determined NOT to cooperate with the federal government, that as reported in the September 17, 2003, issue of the L.A. Daily News, the council voted 13-0 at the request of Ex-cop Councilman Dennis Zine, for him to testify in Washington, D.C., AGAINST HR2671, the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act.

Condoleezza Rice wasn’t aware that Los Angeles was a sanctuary city, but  John Miller, appointed by Los Angeles Police Chief Bratton to oversee the new LAPD Bureau of Homeland Security, doesn’t seem to be aware of it either. With Miller’s conspicuous silence on the sham IDs, one can only conclude that he is just a highly paid figure head.

Maybe after the next terrorist disaster takes place in Los Angeles, I will be called as a witness to a commission wanting to know how the ball was dropped. Sound far-fetched? Not nearly as far-fetched as learning to fly an airliner into a high rise building.