The Manassas Journal-Messenger reports today that El Salvador opened a facility at 14572 Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge that will provide indentification documents to citizens of El Salvador who are in the United States. This documentation that would allow them to open a bank account, rent a car, or document their age. The Consul General of El Salvador reassures us that the identification card has been accepted into the “International ID Checking Guide”, which supposedly will ensure the validitiy of the documents and the veracity of the information they contain.
So what is the “International ID Checking Guide”? It’s a book that is supposedly available only to financial institutions which helps them spot identification documents that have been forged or altered. If you order this book from Amazon.com it’ll help you spot a fake. It’s published by a company in California with no relationship with any governmental agency at all. And of course this guide won’t tell you if the documents were properly issued in the first place.
In El Salvador, the “DUI” is used as a voter registration card, and has been the subject of considerable fraud and abuse with significant reports of falsified cards in the March 2006 elections. It is possible to obtain one of these if you are accompanied by an attorney and have two witnesses who will testify to your identity.
All Salvadorans intending to participate in the 2004 presidential elections are legally required to have a DUI. The process for obtaining the document is simple and fast. Functionaries of the RNPN have cited the process as lasting a maximum of 30 minutes. Once a citizen arrives at the DUI Center they need to present their old personal identification card, electoral carnet, and passport if they have them. The first two documents are then canceled. Citizens have to present a birth certificate if unable to produce their ID, carnet or passport. Some, however, have had appear before the officials accompanied by a lawyer and two witnesses, due to the fact that some mayoral offices and their birth registries were destroyed during the war.
Example Documento Unico de Identidad (”DUI”) card
So that only leaves the question of why a legal resident from El Salvador would need one of these in the first place. If they are a legal resident, they are required to have a passport, and don’t need any sort of documentation from El Salvador in order to open a bank account or rent a car. The only folks who actually have any use for one of these potentially suspect identification documents are those who lack the legal authority to be in the United States in the first place.
It’s time we demanded that foreign consulates stop attempting to subvert our laws. The presence of this facility is an outrage, and this brazen behavior by the government of El Salvador should be immediately addressed by the Department of State.
Thanks to the Manassas Journal-Messenger for doing such a shoddy job with this story.
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