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Without IDs from home, Mexicans struggle in U.S.

NEW YORK — She was born in Mexico and lives in the United States, but Laura Rocio Ordonez does not officially exist in any country.

She can't open a bank account or get married. She is invisible for both governments. Ordonez, 40, not only lives illegally in the United States but also lacks Mexican identification documents.

It's unclear how many immigrants living illegally in the United States fall into that category, but it's estimated that one in seven Mexicans lacks proof of birth. The numbers are high enough that Mexican officials recently traveled to New York to try help dozens of immigrants get IDs.

Mexican immigrants living illegally in the United States are in a far worse situation if they lack Mexican credentials.

For example, some banks accept consular identification cards and passports to open accounts. Immigrants with IDs from home also can obtain taxpayer identification numbers that allow them to pay taxes in the United States and obtain credit and mortgages. New York City public schools accept consular ID cards and similar documentation to enter buildings for meetings with teachers, although people who have no identification at all can be escorted inside.


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