WASHINGTON - Banks can continue to accept identification cards issued by Mexican consulates from customers wishing to open new accounts, the Treasury Department said Thursday in a move seen as a victory for undocumented immigrants.
"This allows immigrants the ability to live normally, to open bank accounts and conduct business," said Kevin Appleby, director of the migration office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "We have a large population of undocumented immigrants who are working and contributing to their communities, and businesses and local governments understand this."
Mexican consulates have issued about 1.5-million of the cards - known as "matriculas" in Spanish - to their citizens living in this country.
The cards carry the bearer's address in the United States, and many local governments and banks accept them as valid identification.
Critics say the cards are prone to fraud and amount to a back-door amnesty for illegal immigrants.
A spokesman for House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., said the Treasury decision will not deter lawmakers from seeking curbs on the widening acceptance of the cards.Yale workers reach tentative agreement
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale University and two labor unions reached a tentative agreement Thursday to end a three-week strike that has been marked by large demonstrations involving high-profile national union leaders.
Negotiators were to meet with the unions today to discuss the proposed eight-year contract, and a vote would follow. If approved, workers would be back on the job Monday.
Both sides claimed victory and promised to work on a way to avoid strikes in the future.
A key issue was the unions' agreeing to the eight-year contract, which the university said was needed to give both sides enough time to work on a better process for negotiating labor pacts.
Two union locals that represent about 4,000 workers went on strike Aug. 27 in a dispute over wages, benefits and pensions.
The new contract would increase pensions substantially for about 1,000 workers who are expected to retire within the next six years. Signing bonuses are also part of the deal.
The strike did little to disrupt the start of Yale's school year, although it has resulted in several vocal protests. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and others were arrested during protests in which striking workers and their supporters blocked intersections.Nelson says he'll block Army secretary
ORLANDO - U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Thursday that he'll block the appointment of a new Secretary of the Army unless the military redresses a new policy that lengthens deployments for Florida National Guardsmen and reservists.
The first-term Democrat said the treatment of Florida's citizen-soldiers was inequitable when compared to those from other states who have already returned from Iraq or were never activated.
Under the Army's new policy, announced last week, guardsmen and reservists will be kept in Iraq a full 12 months from when their boots hit the ground there, not from when units were activated.
That means some Floridians may not return until next May - after being away from home 11/2 years.
Nominated as Army secretary is current Air Force Secretary James Roche. He must go through the Senate Committee on Armed Services, of which Nelson is a member.Also ...
SLAIN STUDENT'S FAMILY SUES UNIVERSITY: The family of a Western Kentucky University freshman who was beaten, stabbed, raped and burned in her dormitory room filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the school Thursday, alleging it failed to enforce its security policies. Katie Autry, 18, died three days after the May attack. Two men from Scottsville, Ky., near the school in Bowling Green, have been charged with murder and other charges. The lawsuit also names as defendants the WKU Student Life Foundation, which owns the residence halls, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and five people who helped run the hall.
POLICE SAY GUNSHOT LED TO HOSTAGE-HOLDER'S DEATH: A single shot fired at random by a suicidal gunman holding a classroom of college students hostage led police to storm in and kill him, an investigator said Thursday. A SWAT team killed Harold Kilpatrick Jr., 26, on Wednesday night after a nine-hour standoff at Dyersburg State Community College in western Tennessee, about 75 miles north of Memphis. His family said he was facing charges of assault and kidnapping in Memphis involving a former girlfriend.
NO CRIMINAL CHARGES IN MINE FLOOD THAT TRAPPED NINE: A grand jury decided against criminal charges in the mine accident that trapped nine men for three days last year, instead urging changes in state laws and regulations. An investigating grand jury found inadequate evidence to file criminal charges in the Quecreek Mine accident, which was blamed on poor maps, state Attorney General Mike Fisher and U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan said Thursday.
TEXAS SENATE DROPS FINES AGAINST DEMOCRATS: The Texas Senate dropped thousands of dollars in fines and restored parking and cell-phone privileges Thursday for Democrats who were punished for fleeing the state to block a Republican-led redistricting plan. The Democrats instead will be placed on a probation of sorts until the start of the next session in January 2005. They were told if they leave again to break a quorum, they would have to pay $57,000 apiece in fines. If any of the senators are absent without excuse for more than 72 hours when attendance is required, the fines and sanctions would be reinstated.