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Press Release: Congressman Bill Sali Asks State Department to Delay Approval of Mexican Consulate

April 30th, 2008 by Halli

From the Office of Rep. Bill Sali

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter sent today, Congressman Bill Sali asked Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to delay opening a Mexican consulate in Boise until the government can assure Idahoans that a consulate will not foster the continued presence of illegal aliens in Idaho. The letter follows a meeting Sali had with senior State Department officials in which the Department’s bureaucrats expressed considerably more concern about whether the consular office would follow local zoning laws than whether it would aid people in breaking federal immigration laws.

“Our government has the moral and constitutional duty to take into consideration how foreign consulates affect our fellow citizens here in our own country,” said Sali. “While I appreciate the important role that the Mexican and other foreign consulates play in facilitating trade and assisting their citizens in distress, just as our foreign consulates do, that is not the issue at stake. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of State seems unconcerned with the controversy surrounding the issuance of certain forms of identification that may be useful to illegal aliens in hiding their illegal status. It makes sense to me to put on the brakes on approving a new consulate until these concerns are fully addressed.

“Zoning is important, but immigration is a matter of national security. It is up to the State Department to start assuring Idahoans that a Mexican consulate will not be used to provide aid and comfort to people who are here in willful violation of our nation’s laws,” said Sali. “The request for a consulate office in Boise should be delayed until the Department can provide those assurances.”

In his letter to Rice, Sali expressed disappointment that so far State Department officials have expressed little interest in assuring Idahoans that the consular office will not be used to aid illegal immigration. Reports from other states indicate Mexican consulate offices have been used to help illegal aliens receive identification cards. Even though the cards are issued by a foreign government, reports indicate theses cards are accepted as legitimate ID by some public agencies and businesses across the county. Consulates across the country have distributed more than 1.5 million such cards in a span of two years.

“Idahoans deserve verification that Mexican consulate offices do not help illegal aliens receive identification cards which are then used to obtain the same benefits as those who are legally in our great country, including banking,” said the Congressman.

Sali asked Rice to answer the questions previously posed to her offices on assurances that a consulate office will not be used to foster illegal immigration and help illegal aliens “gain illicit ‘legal’ standing in Idaho by taking advantage of the good offices of a consulate in Idaho.”

“The people of Idaho are generous and compassionate, but they do not wish to have the good offices of a foreign consulate exploited by persons in our state illegally,” wrote Sali. “Considering the seriousness of the issues reprinted above, I ask that the Department of State delay any approval of a Mexican consulate in Idaho until we may be assured that a consulate would not foster the continued presence of illegal aliens in Idaho. Additionally, I ask for your personal response to this matter.”

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