Two law enforcement agencies in northern California will start accepting Mexican consular cards as a valid form of identification to help reduce the number of deportations in the area and lower the number of people jailed for minor offenses, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported.
“Today is a great day,” Lorenzo Duenas, an assistant sheriff in Sonoma County told an energized Santa Rosa high school auditorium decorated with Mexican blankets, according to the paper. “We're now going to accept the matricular consular ID.”
Under the former policy, a Mexican national without proper ID could be jailed without ever being convicted of an offense. To be sure, after being fingerprinted, they would remain incarcerated until being handed over to immigration agents, the paper reported. Under the new policy, Mexican nationals with the ID would be allowed to go free as long as they're not suspected of any other offense.
The multiagency decision was greeted warmly by the Mexican community in the area that in recent years watched families break apart because of non-criminal deportations, Leticia Romero, the vice president of the North Bay Organizing Project, said.
“It’s important for a community to feel safe where they live,” she told FoxNews.com. “The fear of being pulled over on your way to work could be difficult.”
The Mexican consulate will likely open locations in the area to help individuals apply for the cards.
Romero said the new policy will likely be established in January, and anyone arrested and processed under the old law would be unaffected by the change.