County passes resolution supporting use of the matricula consular
The Lucas County Commissioners—Tina Wozniak, Pete Gerken, and Maggie Thurber—considered the passage of some recognition of the matricula consular (Mexican ID card) in Lucas County on Tuesday, at One Government Center .
The resolution stated, in part,
“Whereas, due to the significant Hispanic population in Lucas County and Northwest Ohio , this Board deems it in the public interest to permit the ‘matricula consular’ to be used as a form of personal identification, as a supplement to the federally required identification, in business conducted between the public and County government.”
The resolution passed 2 to 1, with Commissioners Gerken and Wozniak voting for the resolution and Commissioner Thurber “regretfully” voting “no.”
Commissioner Thurber had offered a modified version to the resolution earlier, with the understanding that the use of the card would be recognized in all circumstances in addition to any other U.S. identification that would be required by the particular organization or institution.
The passed resolution authorized the use of the card in circumstances where additional U.S. or state identification may not be required, such as in cases of emergencies or at a library.
Attorney John Borrell of the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office representing the county commissioners, informed the commissioners that the resolution was in line with the authorities vested by the state of Ohio in the Ohio Revised Code.
Commissioner Thurber felt otherwise, stating ‘it has been my understanding that commissioners can not act unless the revised code specifically makes such an authorization, which it does not.’
Commissioner Thurber stated that the issue was complicated and that she was concerned with the matter of illegal immigration. She also believed that there was no need for the card.
Commissioner Gerken stated that while Lucas County was not an arm of the Mexican government, the need for the card had been shown in this global economy and that he would vote for such a resolution as he had done some three years earlier while on Toledo City Council.
The city of Toledo passed such a resolution some four years ago.
Commissioner Gerken stated that he was aware of the struggles of the Latino community, which was an important part of the entire community in Lucas County . Commissioner Wozniak concurred.
The matricula consular is recognized in some fashion in 178 banks, 163 counties, 377 cities, and 1180 police and sheriff departments in the United States , according to the Mexican Consulate. A summary copy of the matricula consular can be downloaded from here.
In a conversation with Major John Tharp of the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, “peace officers need all the identification they can get and the matricula consular is such identification.” Tharp is a former Toledo Police Officer and now is with the sheriff’s department.
In northern Ohio , the cities of Fostoria , Toledo , Cleveland , Cincinnati , and Columbus have recognized such cards; so has the county of Sandusky and the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Offices.
Mexican Consul Antonio Meza of the consulate office based in Detroit and having jurisdiction in northern Ohio was on hand to answer any questions. So were various members of his staff.
Some anti-immigration groups have opposed the card, but none were present during the presentation and passage of the resolution, whereas numerous Latinos and Latino organizations were on hand.
Editor’s Note: Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber speaks with La Prensa on comparisons concerning her public life as a clerk and as a commissioner y más.