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http://www.al.com/sports/birmingham/Nov2000/18-e423370b.html

Mexican nationals to be issued IDs

11/18/00

Mexican nationals settled in the Cullman area can soak up some native culture and pick up official identification cards issued by the Mexican government today.

Representatives of the Mexican consulate office in Atlanta plan to operate a booth at a Hispanic festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Cullman County Agricultural Trade Center on U.S. 31. Amid a Mariachi band and food, officials expect to issue 400 identification cards.

"We also advise people about any needs," said the consulate's spokesman, Bernardo Mendez.

Mendez said Mexican nationals can use the cards as passports when traveling back to Mexico.

Also, he urged American banks to accept the cards as official identification for cashing checks or opening accounts.

Mendez estimated that 50,000 Mexicans live in Alabama. About 30,000 of those are permanent residents while the rest likely are migratory, he said.