The card is aimed at minors from ages 4 to 17, and by the end of 2012, Mexico’s federal government is hoping that as many as 25.7 million children will be signed up.
With the document, they won’t need to present a birth certificate when registering for school, medical appointments or to receive other public services, Blake said. Authorities said the cards also will certify a child’s identity, critical in cases of children who are missing or forced into prostitution.
Among the dignitaries offering their approval of the document were Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán, Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante, and Tijuana Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñóz.
Though neither the United States nor Canada has national identification cards, countries across Latin America and Europe have used them for years. In Mexico, birth certificates and voter registration cards are the most commonly used identification documents.
Registering minors for the card is only the first phase. The plan is to eventually extend identification cards to adults as well. A third phase also would establish a registry for all foreigners residing in Mexico.
“If you go to a bus station, and somebody asks you for an I.D., you show a birth certificate and that’s enough,” said René Zenteno, Mexico’s undersecretary for population, migration and religious affairs. “But you don’t know if that birth certificate belongs to that person.”