More evidence for Matt Welch's observation that immigration is soon-to-be-a-major-electoral issue again: Cincinnati has signed on to accepting matricula consular cards issued by Central American governments such as Mexico and Guatemala. The cards allow immigrants, regardless of legal status, to get drivers' licenses, open bank accounts, and conduct other basic transactions. Businesses like them because they bring more above-ground cash into play; opponents decry them because they make life easier for illegal and legal immigrants alike.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that 402 cities have started to accept the cards. At the same time that the Queen City is saying yes, two area congressmen, Republican Reps. Rob Portman and Steve Chabot have voted for legislation banning them. Chabot has even cosponsored legislation mandating that only passports can be used as legal i.d. by non-residents.
Both Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and George W. Bush nationally are courting the latino vote, the population most heavily invested with the matricula consular. Whether you're for or against the cards (or for or against immigration), this will be interesting to watch play out.