The role of law enforcement is to carry out the law to the fullest extent, maintain order and protect residents. Law enforcement does not decide what to enforce, however, is told what they are to enforce and can enforce according to local ordinances and state and federal laws, state constitutions and the US Constitution.
Durham City Council in early November voted to accept the use of Matricula Consular Identification Cards (MCAS) as proper identification for Mexicans residing in the city. While issued by Mexico’s government, a person’s identity in possession of MCAS is not positively identified. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has claimed the card “is inherently unreliable and unverifiable as an identification card and is highly vulnerable to fraud, regardless of its security features.”
Said a few days after the council passed the resolution, dissenting councilmen Howard Clement commented on the possible inappropriate overreach of executive decision making by Durham City Police. In an interview with The Durham-Herald Sun, Clement told the newspaper he “quizzed Deputy Police Chief for Operations Steve Mihaich about the decision at a work session that took place last week, three days after council members voted 5-2 to support the department’s practice of accepting the ID.”
The article states: “…it was “news to me” that the department’s willingness to accept the ID went back nearly to the start of Police Chief Jose Lopez’s tenure in Durham. “I don’t know how many other council members were aware of what was going on,” he said in the interview, adding that he found the lack of council involvement in the original decision “really disturbing.”
The response from Mihaich, “he suspects Lopez had felt it had been a matter within the department’s authority to decide.” “If it was me, I wouldn’t have seen a need for council approval,” said Mihaich, who heads the department’s patrol and investigations staff.
Because it is a resolution, what weight does the acceptance of the card carry? A resolution is an opinion of the council. If an illegal immigrant is stopped by Durham City Police and is carrying the card, the word illegal doesn’t, or shouldn’t, change any recourse. There is still an il before legal. And the card does not necessarily, explicitly provide pertinent legal information.