executive director of El Centro, said 166 people were served.
The event was sponsored
and organized by Sacred Heart Chapel, a Latino-Catholic
church in Lorain. El Centro and Sacred Heart have worked with
each other before, said Mr. Leandry. The Lorain chapter of
HOLA, a Latino organization based in Painesville, Ohio that
helps families dealing with deportation, assisted with several
Ms. Vargas was there to
get her matricula consular ID. Although she’s gone
through the process to get her Mexican passport and matricula
before, there always seems to be bumps on the road. There is
often confusion as to which documents are needed as proof of
ones identification, she said.
“When you call the number
to make your appointment, they tell you the requirements that
you need,” Ms. Vargas said. “Sometimes they say one thing and
when you arrive, they require other things.” The reason is
because the office that tells people what is required doesn’t
work for the Consulate and doesn’t always have all the
information, Ms. Vargas said.
The Consulate has very
strict requirements to obtain the passport and the matricula,
which sometimes annoys those waiting to obtain their documents,
Ms. Vargas said.
For example, if the
documents aren’t photocopied correctly they won’t be accepted.
Sometimes even the smallest detail holds up the process – one of
Vargas’ documents was printed on paper that was longer than her
other documents. She was required to cut it to size with some
scissors provided by a lady in line, which drew laughter from
Finally, her documents
were accepted and she was on her way to get her matricula,
although her husband wasn’t able to renew his passport because
he didn’t have documents that had both of his Mexican last
The matricula is
extremely important for Mexicans living in the United States,
Ms. Vargas said. It is often accepted as a valid form of ID in
the U.S., especially with banks and business-related situations.
“This has the address and
all of someone’s personal data,” Ms. Vargas continued. “It’s an
ID that, since in the U.S. the undocumented can’t get an ID, is
the only thing that’s worth something.”
Deputy Consul Vicente
Colmenares Sumano said the card helps Mexican citizens prove
they are Mexican and their personal identity in the U.S. He also
noted it contains a security strip to prevent fraudulent copies.
“It’s a very reliable document,” Consul Sumano said.
Ms. Vargas said the Mobile
Consulate was incredibly convenient for Mexican Nationals, who
need their matricula consular and/or their passports.
Every other time she has needed to update or obtain documents
from the Consulate she had to go to Detroit, where the nearest
permanent Consulate is based for Michigan and Northern Ohio
For many Mexican citizens
in the U.S., it was a difficult process, as those who aren’t
U.S. citizens worry about driving the long distance without a
driver’s license. For those that can find a ride, they are
usually charged a lot of money, said Ms. Vargas. It is also very
risky for those without the proper documents.
“And lately the fear of
even driving through other states or other cities because of the
border patrol stopping people and deporting people. From my
standpoint it was very important for the community to bring [the
Mexican Consulate] over here and make them accessible,” Director
If an undocumented Mexican
citizen is pulled over for a minor infraction such as a speeding
ticket, the police often alert la migra, said Dan
Radocaj, fiscal director at El Centro. HOLA is supporting
such an individual who was recently stopped in a vehicle near
“A simple speeding ticket
could turn into a whole deportation situation, and all you’re
trying to do is get documents to be legal,” Radocaj said. “It’s
kind of lopsided.”
Having the consulate come
to Lorain is also more convenient, Ms. Vargas said, and she
noted that many of those in attendance were coming from the
surrounding cities such as Akron, Canton, Fremont, Norwalk, and