Home Feature A fee dispute between Mexico and the U.S. led Texas to issue ID cards in 1921

A fee dispute between Mexico and the U.S. led Texas to issue ID cards in 1921

by Yucatan Times
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As I read that El Paso City Council unanimously voted to bring an Enhanced Library Card program to residents, set to launch in April 2024, it reminded me of a March 05, 2011, article about the city of El Paso issuing identification cards after the Mexican government refused to recognize short-term passports issued by the American government.

Dear Trish, I’ve been researching my grandparents, and among their effects, I’ve found some identification cards. In essence, they are photo IDs “to certify that (Name is listed) whose picture appears on the margin hereof is a bona fide resident of El Paso, Texas, having lived here more than six months.” The cards are signed by the mayor of El Paso, Charles Davis Jr. From research, I’ve found he was mayor of El Paso from 1917 to 1923. Thank you, Mary Jones, Fort Worth, Texas.

Mary, I happened to come across an article dated Jan. 5, 1921, “Tourists Still In Mourning At Passport Order,” which reported, “Up to a late hour last evening, no information had been received by Juárez Immigration officers or Consul General Luis Montes de Oca of El Paso indicating that the Mexican government had receded from its position of refusing to recognize short-term passports issued by the American government.

More: El Paso City Council unanimously approves plan for community identification cards

Mexico bans short-term passports

“No more one-day, five-day or 10-day permits are being issued at the immigration office at the Chamber of Commerce. Tourists making applications for them are told the permits would not be reconciled, and they would simply put themselves to inconvenience by trying to go to Juárez.”

Mexico’s ban on short-term passports appeared to be in retaliation for a $10 visa fee the U.S. Consul was charging residents of Mexico to travel into the U.S. Juárez residents wanted the fee waived for travel into El Paso.

A May 6, 1921, article reported that Juárez business had been paralyzed by the ban on passports. “Juárez heretofore has been the main attraction for tourists, they argued. Juárez has offered the thirsty traveler the alcoholic mixtures that they crave. But, now, with the gate to Mexico at this point closed to them, tourists will pass El Paso by and go to Laredo, Eagle Pass, or California.”

More: Grumet: What Austin can learn from San Marcos’ experiment with photo ID library cards

Bullfight event of the year announced

On May 10, 1921, “the bullfighting event of the year” was announced at the Juárez ring. It was to “take place next Sunday, May 16, when Rodolfo Gaona, the premier matador of the world, will make his initial appearance here. Gaona has a reputation both in Spain, Mexico, and South America as the most spectacular and skillful bullfighter of the decade. He has been a matador for 13 years, fighting during the winter at the principal cities of Spain, and during the summer in Mexico and in South America.”

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