TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2011 AT 10:53 A.M.
TIJUANA — Tijuana was the setting Monday for the launch of anidentity card program aimed at minors across Mexico, a move that authorities said would reduce paperwork as well as protect againstchild trafficking, prostitution and other forms of abuse.
As hundreds of uniformed students from Miguel Hidalgo Elementary School watched, sixth-grader Leslie Carolina García became the first person in Mexico to register for the card.
Mexico’s interior minister, José Francisco Blake Mora, called it a “historic day” for Mexico. “This is not an option for authorities or for the government,” he said. “It is a constitutional obligation to offer this identification card.”
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.
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.