Large numbers of undocumented Mexican immigrants are expected to begin lining up outside the Red Bank Charter School as early as this evening for a five-day visit by employees of the Mexican Consulate in New York beginning tomorrow.


Thirteen consulate employees will be on hand from Wednesday through Sunday to process requests for Mexican passports and consular ID cards, says Diana Litwin, a volunteer who’s helping organize what’s billed as ‘the Mexican Consulate on Wheels.’

The documents, says Litwin, in no way change the holder’s citizenship status. Rather, they provide Mexican nationals with basic identification for use in everything from banking to healthcare, and enable holders to obtain federal taxpayer ID numbers from the IRS so they can pay taxes.

“They’re already here, so tax them,” says Litwin. “When they work in restaurants and they have tax ID numbers, their bosses can put them on the payroll and hey can begin paying taxes.”

The event, one in a series being conducted in Monmouth and Ocean counties, is sponsored by Nosotros, a Spanish language newspaper published in Freehold, which is paying hotel and other costs for the visiting officials.

Meridian Health, owner of Riverview Medical Center, has contributed funds to offset expenses, Litwin says, and some 45 volunteers, many of them signed up through the United Methodist Church of Red Bank, will be on hand to help.

The consular visit is necessary, Litwin said, because it can often take eight months for a Mexican immigrant to get an appointment at the nearest consulates, in New York and Philadelphia. And many immigrants cannot afford the cost of going into the city, she said.

The event has been heavily advertised in Nosotros, and is expected to draw 1,500 to 2,000 applicants over the course of the five days. Going by recent visits by the consulate employees to Asbury Park and Lakewood, some applicants will arrive in the evening and wait overnight to ensure they’re seen, Litwin said.

The consular employees will be available from 9a to 3p each day, and expect to process about 350 requests per day. To obtain documents, applicants must present a valid birth certificate.

Because of limited space, the event will not be able to provide consultation on how to obtain taxpayer IDs, pay taxes and other responsibilities. Those services will be available, however, when the consulate on wheels moves to Long Branch starting July 22, Litwin said.

Employees of Bank of America will be on hand to set up bank accounts for clients once they have their paperwork, Litwin said.

Here are a press release describing the program and a letter sent to residents of Chestnut and Oakland streets:

• Download press_release.doc

• Download letter.doc