Obtaining your very own Matricula

Los Angeles is one of many California cities that must comply with the city ordinance that requires its law enforcement officers to accept the Matricula card as certified identification. The only persons needing Matricula cards are illegal aliens, since legal immigrants already have a legal form of identification such as a green card. Green card holders are entitled to drivers licenses or state ID cards. Matricula cards are issued to illegal alien foreigners (mostly Mexicans). The Mexican government does not have a Matricula database made accessible to state law enforcement, thus unlike a state issued drivers license, a police officer cannot do a make on anyone who presents the Matricula. They must take the word of the card holder that he/she is who he/she says he/she is.

To get your matricula, go to the SE corner of Alvarado Street and Wilshire Blvd in the MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles. There you will find a thriving group of underground venders (operating in the open) selling items ranging from chicharon to drugs. The matricula venders hang out around the 99 Cent Only Store (see details) eyeing people who look like they want to buy their goods much like the way used car salesmen eye people on their lot who are kicking tires.

Go up to any one hanging around and ask for Valdo (he speaks some English and is my favorite vendor). If Valdo isn't available (he sometimes takes the day off), any one of the other vendors will be eager to help you. The going price to Hispanics is $30.00, but the vendor will try to negotiate a higher price if you are a "rich" Anglo, but don't pay more than $40.00.

Don't worry about the black and white police cars patrolling the area. They won't bother you because obtaining a matricula card (even if it contains false information) isn't illegal. It's only illegal to distrobute false IDs or to use a matricula for the purpose of deception.

Before you go to buy your matricula, be prepared to provide the vendor with the following information you want on the card:
- The name you want to show (your own name or one you make up).
- The address of where you live in the U.S. (your own address or one you make up).
- Your birth date (your own or one you make up).
- Where you were born in Mexico (wink, wink -- nudge nudge).
- A copy of your signature that can be scanned (or tell the vendor to just simply jot any unreadable signature that barely resembles the name you will use).
- A passport style photo without a hat or your glasses (but since you will not be using your matricula to falsify information, you can use any decent photo. Just tell the vendor that it doesn't matter to you if the photo doesn't meet passport standards).
NOTE: If you don't have a photo, the vendor will take you to a photo shop two blocks away where you will have your picture taken for $10.00.

Other than paying for your photo, do not pay the vendor until he delivers the product. You will be asked to wait across the street at the park or if you're hungry, you can kill some time at Langer's Deli just down the street. It takes from one to two hour for the card to be delivered to you. If you don't want to wait, give the vendor your cell phone number and he will call you when the card is finished.

The matricula is also good for boarding airliners.

Matricula cards are especially useful for dead beat dads who have abandoned their Mexican families who come to the U.S. to start fresh with a new ID.

To know the advantages of using a Matricula card, Click here.