EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – The government of Mexico plans to issue gender-neutral identity documents to Mexicans living in the United States and Canada. It also plans to hire speakers of five Indigenous languages to assist those who migrated to the U.S. from communities where Nahuatl, Zapotec, Mayan, Otomi and Mixtec are spoken.
The new consular ID and an expanded language services telephone line will be available on June 1, said Jaime Vazquez Bracho Torres, Mexico’s director of consular services.
“This new ID has several new security features – such as polycarbonate material, similar to our new e-passport, which we recently launched – and also new inclusivity features including an ‘X’ in the case of people who identify as gender nonconforming or nonbinary,” Vazquez Bracho said.
Speaking Saturday at the Mexican consulate in El Paso, Vazquez Bracho said Mexico is producing more modern and secure identity documents for its citizens abroad so that foreign governments don’t hesitate to accept them. He said states like California and New Mexico already accept the Mexican consulate ID, also known as matricula consular, as proof of identity when issuing state driver’s licenses.
The new e-passport and the forthcoming new consular ID have hidden computer chips, holograms and biometrical information of the bearer. That makes it possible to accommodate transgender individuals without security concerns. “This is part of an effort to modernize and fight discrimination as well through our consular network,” Vazquez Bracho said.
Last March, the U.S. State Department announced it would give passport applicants the option of selecting “X” instead of “M” (male) or F (female) in their passport applications. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the same option would apply to other forms of documentation in 2023.
As for the expanded language-services line, government officials and immigration advocates point out the need to serve migrants at the border who speak neither English nor Spanish. The 2020 Mexican census concluded that up to 6.2 percent of that country’s 126 million people speak an Indigenous language, with 865,972 not speaking Spanish at all.
The consulate in El Paso sees an average of 950 people per week seeking identity documents, protection or other services, Consul General Mauricio Ibarra said.
The matricula is a popular document used for several years by Mexican immigrants who lack U.S. documents to open bank accounts, contract utilities and identify themselves before local authorities, he said.
The wallet-size card also allows U.S. residents to prove their Mexican nationality and travel unencumbered whenever they visit their homeland, he added.
Information to get these documents can be obtained by calling (424)-309-0009 or visiting citas.sre.gob.mx.