Honduran migrants promised ID cards
BY SARA BLUMENTHAL
Thousands of Hondurans living in the United States, legally and illegally, may soon be offered identification cards by their government, according to Jose Lagos, president of Miami-based Honduran Unity.
Lagos, a Central American community advocate, said he welcomed the ID card announcement -- but voiced some concerns.
Lagos said one of his main worries was whether the cards may be permanent or temporary -- phased out if the current Honduran government is replaced by a new administration in the future.
ACCESS TO BANKS
Honduran ID cards would be similar to the so-called matrícula consular cards already issued by Mexico to its citizens in the United States. Matrículas do not confer immigration status, but allow holders to open bank accounts.
The card announcement was made by President Ricardo Maduro as local Hondurans gathered at downtown Miami's Bayfront Park Saturday to honor the Virgin de Suyapa, the Honduran patron saint.
Tens of thousands of illegal Honduran migrants living in South Florida and the United States already have temporary work permits under an immigration service program known as Temporary Protected Satus -- but thousands of others have failed to qualify for the permits.
Lagos said the cards are a step in the right direction, but noted that the Honduran government should do more to help its citizens remain in the United States.
''It is not enough. Opening a bank account is not immigration status,'' said Lagos. ``If they are detained by immigration, forget about the matrícula consular.''