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Consular ID's To Be Accepted In Arizona

(Capitol Media Services photon by Howard Fischer)

By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday gave his blessing to a law that will once again allow state and local officials to accept certain foreign consular ID cards for identification.In a formal signing statement, the governor said he believes the measure will allow law enforcement the ability "to quickly and accurately identify more of the individuals with whom they interact.''
"This is critical to ensure safety for both law enforcement and the public,'' Ducey wrote.

But the governor also took the opportunity to point out that nothing in SB 1420 provides any new rights or responsibilities to those who are not U.S. citizens, regardless of whether they are in this country legally or otherwise.

"It simply recognizes that governments in Arizona will accept cards issued by countries who use strict biometric identity verification techniques as lawful identification,'' the governor said.
For the moment that seems to be limited to Mexico and Guatemala whose ID cards use both fingerprint and retinal scan information required by the law law encoded on the cards.

Prior to 2011 it was up to local governments to decide whether to recognize the cards. That changed when the Republican-controlled legislature enacted the ban during a period of approving multiple laws aimed at those not in the country legally.

Proponents said the cards could give the impression that users were here legally.
The push for the change started last year when then-Rep. Tony Rivero, R-Peoria, convinced enough of his Republican colleagues in the House to join with Democrats to repeal the ban. He had been a supporter of stronger ties between Arizona and Mexico and saw the restriction as a barrier to that.

It did not get a Senate vote before the 2020 session shut down due to COVID-19.
This year the fight was picked up by Rep. David Cook, R-Globe in the House and Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale.

Cook, in appealing to GOP lawmakers, touted the desire by law enforcement for secure identification. Boyer emphasized how the ban was impairing relations with Mexico, which is the state's largest trading partner.

Despite that, the legislation still drew opposition from 10 of the 16 Republicans in the Senate and 18 of 31 House Republicans.

The law will take effect later this year.

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