Pres. Calderón announced at the 150th anniversary of the Civil Registry plans to institute a national I.D. card program for all Mexican adults, to be launched late this year. Calderón committed to the completion of the program before his term ends in 2012. The cards will include identifying biometric information possibly including fingerprints, iris scans, or voice recognition. Congress passed the legal framework for a national I.D. card in 1990, but no action has been taken to implement it until now. The administration has reportedly already instituted pilot programs in some states, including Tamaulipas an Puebla.
Along with promoting security in the nation, Interior Minister Fernando Gómez Mont has said that the cards will come at a “reasonable cost.” Nonetheless, the overall cost of the I.D. cards has been estimated at MEX$3 billion. Congress has already approved MEX$400 million for the program’s initiation in November. Citing the current budget crisis, senators from the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) requested that the Calderón administration hold off on implementing the program. PRD senator Tomás Torres also said that the I.D. card would be redundant, as Mexicans also have accepted forms of identification in their passports and voter registration cards.
For its part, the Federal Election Institute (IFE) has expressed dismay at the short notice of the new I.D. cards, which it says could have significant consequences for the electoral process. At issue is IFE’s fear that the new I.D. card could replace the current registration cards. IFE president Leonardo Valdés Zurita said that he will meet with Gómez Mont next week to discuss with him the importance of maintaining the voter registration card as a valid form of identification.
From the Justice in Mexico Project’s August Monthly News Report:
Álvarez, Xóchitl. “IFE defiende vigencia de credencial de elector para votar.” El Universal August 13, 2009.
Mejía, Gerardo. “Piden frenar cédula de identidad por la crisis.” El Universal August 16, 2009.