Banks and illegal immigration
One of the nearly-overlooked aspects of the immigration issue is the role that banks play. That's surprising since around 20 billion dollars flows from Mexican citizens in the U.S. back to Mexico each year. Some Caribbean countries (such as Haiti) get an even greater percentage of foreign income from such money flows. And, a good portion of that flow is from illegal aliens, and the money they send home was earned illegally.
While illegal immigration is presented by its enablers in the media and in advocacy groups purely as a human issue, it's actually more a matter of big money.
Plenty of banks (and the Federal Reserve) want to tap into the money that's sent from the U.S. to foreign countries, whether the money was earned illegally or not. And, plenty of banks want to tap into related markets such as opening savings and checking accounts for illegal aliens or giving them home loans. They know the money was earned illegally, but they don't care. And, they find plenty of corrupt politicians willing to help them profit from illegally-earned money in exchange for campaign contributions or other benefits.
See the entries below for specific examples of banks trying to profit from illegally-earned money in one way or another. One easy thing you can do is ask The Nation why they spent a year investigating Lou Dobbs at the same time as ignoring Wachovia, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and all the rest.
New York City has passed a law to give municipal identification cards to any qualifying resident of that city, regardless of immigration status . Like similar efforts in other cities, the real goals include building up a political power base for politicians and enriching major banks.
In the case of the NYC card, they're specifically covering up for future criminals and terrorists. Here are some of the issues with the card:
The Los Angeles City Council has voted to consider turning the L.A. Public Library card into an ID card that illegal aliens can use. No matter how the plan is spun, it all boils down to one of two things (or a combination): money and power.
Wachovia Bank admits laundering billions in illegal drug profits (+Bank of America; Wells Fargo) - 07/05/10
[Wachovia Bank]... made a habit of helping move money for Mexican drug smugglers. Wells Fargo & Co., which bought Wachovia in 2008, has admitted in court that its unit failed to monitor and report suspected money laundering by narcotics traffickers... The admission came in an agreement that Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia struck with federal prosecutors in March... Wachovia admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. That’s the largest violation of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money-laundering law, in U.S. history -- a sum equal to one-third of Mexico’s current gross domestic product...
[Wachovia isn't alone...] Miami-based American Express Bank International paid fines in both 1994 and 2007 after admitting it had failed to spot and report drug dealers laundering money through its accounts. Drug traffickers used accounts at Bank of America in Oklahoma City to buy three planes that carried 10 tons of cocaine, according to Mexican court filings...
[...BofA and another bank, HSBC, haven't been charged...]
...Large banks are protected from indictments by a variant of the too-big-to-fail theory...
At the end of 2008, Arnold Schwarzenegger launched "Bank on California", a California state program that encouraged the "unbanked" to open bank accounts. Since the "unbanked" are largely illegal aliens and since their wages are earned illegally, California's governor is using state resources to help private companies profit from illegal activity.
Now, Doug Irving of the Orange County Register offers "Poorest of poor urged to use banks" (link) about an affiliated local effort called "Bank on Santa Ana" (bankonsantaana.ca.gov). In his report, he tells his readers nothing about the immigration aspect and promotes the program rather than taking the banks to task. He mentions that the banks will accept Mexico's Matricula consular card as identification, without noting that that card is a very strong indicator that the bearer is an illegal alien.
As for those involved:
The city [of Santa Ana] and Orange County United Way are running the Bank on Santa Ana project. Eight banks and credit unions have signed up to participate and offer the special checking accounts: Bank of America, Bank of the West, Chase Bank, Citibank, Communidad Latina Federal Credit Union, Pan American Bank, Union Bank and Wells Fargo.
Please contact unitedwayoc.org/contact/contact.asp with your thoughts. Perhaps there's some way that their 501(c)3 status could be challenged due to this program.
I haven't looked into how much of the mortgage mess is due to financial institutions giving mortgages to low-wage workers, including illegal aliens from Mexico; for that, see Steve Sailer. Some but not all of it was, making the June 10, 2004 article from The Economist called "More Mexicans, please" (no author given; economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=2752598) a cautionary tale about a) giving in to corruption, and b) trusting The Economist:
NATIVISTS in Texas and Arizona may still want to keep Mexicans out of America, but in the mid-west, far from the border, a growing chorus is calling for better integration of the large Mexican population that already exists. Employers need them, schools are full of their children, politicians seek their votes and, increasingly, banks want their money.
The integration push is already under way at the Mexican consulate in Chicago. Under a programme set up this spring by the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (a government agency created by Mr Fox), daily lectures are held there on topics ranging from worker rights to banking and health care. From 7am each day, crowds of people line up to apply for an identity card known as a matricula consular, which is now accepted as valid ID by 800 law-enforcement agencies across America. As the matriculas have gained wider acceptance, doors have opened to immigrants in other areas, blurring the line between services available to legal and illegal Mexicans.
Now financial institutions are courting these hard-working people. No wonder: Mexicans sent $13.3 billion in remittances home from America last year (providing the second-largest source of income after oil), and three-quarters of those who remit funds have no bank accounts. A growing number of banks (118 nationwide, including 86 in the mid-west) now accept alternative forms of identification—generally the matricula card along with a taxpayer identification number—to open bank accounts. Thirty-three of the 48 American banks that offer international remittance services are in the mid-west, and America's bank regulators are encouraging the efforts. “Banks aren't so interested in the remittances, they're interested in the relationships,” says Michael Frias, an official with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). “They're looking at this as a long-term proposition.”
Indeed, and we'll be paying for the decisions made by the FDIC and those like them for a while. For more on this from around the same time as the Economist article, see this, this, this, and more recent examples of this type of corruption are listed on the immigration banks page.
America.gov promotes banks profiting from money earned illegally ("unbanked", Matt Herrick) - 05/20/09
America.gov staff writer Matt Herrick offers "Banking the Unbanked/Alternative financial services attract immigrants" :
Compared to native-born Americans, immigrants like Gama are not only poor, but also disproportionately "unbanked," meaning they do not have bank accounts. Some might be "under-banked," making minimal use of banks. Among immigrants, Mexicans are most likely to be unbanked, reports the Pew Hispanic Center.
The reasons for this are manifold... ...Another reason immigrants don’t use banks is survival. Pew reports more than 80 percent of undocumented immigrants are Hispanic. They may shy away from banks for fear of revealing their illegal status and risking apprehension by immigration authorities...
...Mitchell Bank, based in a densely populated Latino community in Milwaukee, adopted immigrant-friendly practices in the late 1990s and saw its business grow. The bank decided to accept most foreign-issued identifications, allowed a low $50 minimum to open a checking account and offered low-fee remittance services. In 2000, it reached out even further by opening a full branch at a nearby high school...
Those "foreign-issued identifications" include the Matricula Consular card, a virtual guarantee that the bearer is an illegal alien. And, as discussed here and here, Mitchell Bank was involved in giving home loans to illegal aliens.
In other words, a part of the federal government is promoting profiting from money earned by those who broke federal laws. Those companies that profit from such illegal activity are not going to willingly let their customers be deported and will take steps such as donating to politicians who will fight against immigration enforcement. And, America.gov is part of that sleazy web of corruption.
Please click the contact link at the end of  and let them know what you think.
Former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz offers "We Need an Immigration Stimulus/A recession is exactly when we want innovative outsiders" (link). Bracketed by various absurdities, he offers the following stats:
Companies founded by immigrants include Yahoo, eBay and Google. Half of Silicon Valley start-ups were founded by immigrants, up from 25% a decade ago. Some 40% of patents in the U.S. are awarded to immigrants. A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation found that immigrants are 50% likelier to start businesses than natives.
Someone who supports Americans (in Crovitz' words, a "nativist") might look at those stats and wonder how we could spur entrepreneurship among Americans, such as by making an entrepreneur class some sort of graduation requirement just as other subjects are. Someone of the WSJ's bent might look into taxes that make being an entrepreneur difficult for Americans; someone to the left might suggest some sort of government program. That would be the American approach. You don't need to guess Gordon Krovitz' approach:
The City of Los Angeles recently announced a new public-private partnership called "Bank on Los Angeles" (bankonla.com) that's designed to help 10,000 low-income residents who don't have bank accounts ("the unbanked") open up accounts. It's also open to illegal aliens , and that means that Los Angeles City will be encouraging corruption by helping major banks profit from money that was earned illegally.
Obama 3/24/09 press conference: border initiative seeks stop flow of illegal guns and money - 03/24/09
The transcript of Barack Obama's 3/24/09 press conference is here. In addition to several of the to-be-expected useless questions from the English-language media, he took one from a Univision reporter:
Today your administration presented a plan to help curb the violence in Mexico and also to control any or prevent any spillover of the violence into the United States. Do you consider the situation now a national security threat?
Needless to say, he didn't answer that question. He was also asked whether he'd be sending National Guard troops, and only responded that he'd increase the efforts if they weren't enough. And, needless to say, he didn't say anything about actually building the border fence.
What he did say is that he wants to do something about the flow of illegal guns from the U.S. into Mexico; that flow may or may not be as great as claimed, and those highlighting the flow may be using it to hide their support for gun control.
And, he also said he wanted to do something about cash flowing back to drug sellers in Mexico. At this point in time it might be worth reviewing all the effort that banks, the Mexican government, and others have put into the Matricula Consular card that allows illegal aliens to send money home. Some of that might be more than simply chicken-plucking wages. It might also be helpful to recall "ICIRR in suit against Terry Goddard over Western Union wire transfers" and the like. If Obama actually means anything he says, expect him to make sure that no transfers by "willing workers" are involved, lest he outrages his illegal immigration-supporting friends at groups like the ICIRR.
San Francisco city ID card helps illegal aliens find work, banks profit from illegally-earned money - 02/23/09
San Francisco City Hall started issuing municipal photo identification cards to city residents on Jan. 15, regardless of their immigration status.Of course, if you're you're an illegal alien who lived in Guatamala until yesterday you can get one, just as long as you prove residency in Frisco.
"The SF ID card program is great," said Dr. Carlota Del Portillo, dean of the Mission campus. "It will be available for San Francisco residents only. If you live in Daly City, for example, you will not be able to have one."
And, if you're an illegal alien who wants to find work, San Francisco has some good news for you. From their "SF City ID Card - Business Participation" page (sfgov.org/site/countyclerk_index.asp?id=86599):
The card can help businesses streamline their hiring process because employers can use the SF City ID Card as a List B document for verifying identity for a new employee's Employment Eligibility Verification form (also known as an I-9 form).Taking a look at an I-9 form (PDF link), a "a List B document" is one that proves identity, not employment authorization. However, combined with a fake Social Security card, it can be used to obtain employment.
In other words, the city of San Francisco is facilitating companies hiring illegal aliens.
Note also the list of benefits at sfgov.org/site/countyclerk_index.asp?id=78261, including this:
Serve as a form of identification to open a checking account at participating banksAside from misguided liberalism, that appears to be one of the main motivations behind the card; see San Francisco approves ID card; corruption in plain sight; Tom Ammiano?
UPDATE: For those not familiar with the area, Daly City is directly south of Frisco; perhaps residents of that city could protest SF's xenophobia and express their displeasure at SF erecting a virtual border fence between the two cities.
In brief, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state of California are actively helping banks profit from money that was earned illegally.
Stephen Fuller/George Mason University: are you sure you're a professor of public policy? - 04/25/08
[The money followed in the update, and also see the 9500 Liberty page.]
Stephen Fuller/Stephen S. Fuller of George Mason University - supposedly a professor of public policy - is featured on the latest video from 9500 Liberty. On the video (called "IMMIGRATION Crackdown HURTS Our Economy", link) he discusses the dire consequences of Prince William County in northern Virginia trying to do something about illegal immigration in their county. Oddly enough, for the several minutes that Fuller basically says the same thing over and over, he only discusses direct economic effects and certainly doesn't sound to me like an intellectually honest public policy expert.
He doesn't, for instance, discuss how businesses profiting from illegal activity isn't good public policy. Yet, one might expect a real professor of public policy to do that, no?
He doesn't discuss how massive illegal immigration is a symptom of massive government corruption, something one might expect a real professor of public policy to do.
He doesn't discuss the social welfare costs of massive illegal immigration. He doesn't discuss other non-financial costs, such as the cost of giving even more political power inside the U.S. to foreign governments and to homegrown racial demagogues like Walter Tejada or extremist groups like Mexicanos Sin Fronteras. Those are costs, and based on his bio (link), one might expect him to be honest and knowledgeable enough to factor them into the equation.
Not only that, but - believe it or don't - he says this:
The state makes transfer payments to the schools based on the number of school children. Start losing schoolchildren, you qualify for less money.
That's Homer Simpsonian in its stupidity, considering that those transfer payments have to come from somewhere.
He offers that argument, and he completely fails to point out any of the public policy negatives related to illegal immigration or even massive immigration. So, is he really a professor of public policy, or is he something else?
Please send him a polite email asking him what he is exactly: sfuller2 *at* gmu.edu
UPDATE: Fuller is back in yet another video, this called "Immigration Myths with Dr. Stephen S. Fuller, PhD" (link). He doesn't discuss any myths and he still doesn't discuss any negatives of what he supports.
And, 9500 Liberty doesn't disclose that in 2007 he was named Chief Economist of Cardinal Bank, which also agreed to sponsor the Metropolitan Washington Economic Index from the George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis. Fuller is the Director of that Center (policy.gmu.edu/people/Fuller.html).
Candid emails from opponents Oklahoma's anti-illegal immigration law (1804, Harry Coates, Spirit Bank) - 04/11/08
Oklahoma passed an anti-illegal immigration bill (1804) last year and various forces are apparently trying to weaken it or repeal it. Late last month the Oklahoma Bankers Association released a study claiming that the bill could cost residents of the state $1.8 billion (link). One of the opponents is state Sen. Harry Coates, whose family just happens to own a roofing company.
Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger promote corruption, try to fool people about "unbanked" program - 01/24/08
...[The American dream] is harder to achieve for millions of Americans because they spend too much of their hard-earned money on fees to cash their paychecks or pay off high-priced loans meant to carry them over until they get paid at work.They also mention that the William J. Clinton Foundation's Economic Opportunity Initiative will be helping spread the San Francisco scheme to other cities.
...This year, California will become the first state in the nation to launch an effort to help unbanked residents open starter accounts -- the first step into the financial mainstream...
In coordination with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, we will partner with financial institutions to increase the supply of starter accounts that work for unbanked consumers and banks. We will form regional coalitions of financial institutions, mayors and community groups to market accounts and help the unbanked build financial literacy. And we will build on work already being done in San Francisco, where city officials, working with banks and credit unions, have already signed up 11,000 individuals who previously had no checking or savings account...
The San Francisco scheme boils down to the FDIC trying to help banks profit from money that was earned illegally. Instead of fighting against such government corruption, Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzenegger are promoting it. Pardon me if I have difficulty thinking of both of them as little more than crooks.
UPDATE: Please contact Arnie and let him know what you think: gov.ca.gov/interact or better yet give his office a call and select the option to speak to a live person: 916-445-2841. And, per a note here, Kevin James of KRLA AM 970 will be discussing this on his show tonight (9:00 - 11:00 pm PST).
The Consulate General of Mexico signed an agreement Monday with three U.S. banks that could make Mexican nationals more comfortable with the banking industry.Not all of those who'll become new customers for those banks are here illegally. However, the dodge the banks will use will be that they can't check someone's immigration status, even while they realize that those who use Matricula Consular cards (available from the friendly consulate) are most likely illegal aliens. Those banks will then donate a portion of their profits to politicians, who will then ensure that the banks continue to profit from indirect illegal activity.
Chase, Citibank and Laredo National Bank will take turns each day manning a desk in the Mexican Consulate on Navarro Street [in San Antonio]. They will answer questions for Mexican nationals about financial services and products with the hope of eventually turning them into customers at area branches.
"In other areas of the U.S. — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago — we have had a presence in consulates for years," said Inigo Arzac, assistant vice president and relationship manager for Citibank San Antonio...
Bank of "America" signs up customers at Dallas Mexican consulate
[Bill author, supervisor Tom Ammiano] said banking institutions in San Francisco have signaled their willingness to accept the municipal ID card for the purpose of setting up accounts. He noted that people without bank accounts are frequently more vulnerable to theft and robbery.At least the first two banks listed as well as the Federal Reserve have in the past taken steps to profit from indirect illegal activity: the money that illegal aliens earn by working illegally. And, in fact, the Bush administration fought to allow banks to accept Mexico's ID card which is only of use to illegal aliens. And, from the Bank on San Francisco page (sfgov.org/site/bankonsf_index.asp?id=46628):
Officials with the city's Bank on San Francisco program, which helps people obtain bank accounts, said institutions such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Washington Mutual and US Bank had expressed interest in accepting the ID cards.
Bank on San Francisco is a city partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank. Although criteria for opening bank accounts are set in part through the USA Patriot Act, "to our knowledge that law is not a bar to a municipal ID," said David Augustine, spokesman for the city treasurer's office, which oversees the program.
Accept alternative forms of identification, such as consular identification cards. For many immigrants, the barrier to opening an account is having the proper documentation.The banks aren't going to earn that much off this; I'd imagine that due to the cost of living in Frisco they don't have a high illegal alien population (except for those living 20 to an apartment in shifts). However, this could be used as an entree to other cities, such as Los Angeles.
As for Ammiano, I'm not familiar with him and I don't know whether he's just a soft-brained far-leftie or whether he's trying to get a piece of the pie. However, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he's received donations from those banks or he has some sort of other link. Those who live in the area are strongly encouraged to follow the money. His fellow supervisor Gerardo Sandoval is a strong supporter of illegal immigration.
Note that New Haven, CT has their own municipal ID. Their mayor John DeStefano has a possible financial interest and the person in his office who pushed the ID (Kica Matos) previously headed a group (Junta for Progressive Action) that is/was collaborating with the Mexican government.
UPDATE: The "Case Study" PDF at the sfgov link above has some interesting nuggets on the Bank on San Francisco program. First, they've got a section for those "thinking about starting something similar to Bank on San Francisco in your community", and I'm sure some are. As for how it all started:
Anne Stuhldreher, a Fellow at the New America Foundation, approached staff of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and City Treasurer Jose Cisneros with the initial concept. The Treasurer’s Office convened a working group of the staff of the Mayor and Treasurer, the Mayors Office of Community Development, New America Foundation, and EARN, a citywide nonprofit that helps low-income residents build assets. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco joined the group soon after hearing about the program.To participate in the program, banks have to accept those foreign IDs which are of use only to illegal aliens. And:
From further research, the working group learned that Latinos who are un-banked often don't realize that you do not need a social security number to open an account and that they can open accounts with Mexican or Guatemalan Identification cards.In other words, you don't have to be here legally to have a U.S. bank account.
As for government corruption at the federal level:
[at a meeting] Michael Frias, of the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation [sic], discussed how the New Alliance Task Force is helping banks learn about how they can accept the Matricula Consular Card and develop products and services to help Latino immigrants, save, send money to their home countries, and buy homes... The New Alliance Task Force is a partnership between the FDIC, the Mexican Consulate, banks, community-based organizations, federal regulators, the secondary market, and private mortgage insurance companies. The partnership has opened 50,000 new bank accounts totaling $100 million.In other words, something akin to a federal agency is collaborating with a foreign government to help nationals of that government who are here illegally get home loans, and is assisting banks to profit from money that was earned illegally.
Pro-illegal immigration performance art (funding by Bank of America and Wells Fargo)
Wells Fargo and illegal activity
remesamex.gob.mx features Bank of "America", Wells Fargo, and Western Union
Citibank "recruiting" illegal aliens for home loans
San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano is drafting legislation to create a city identification card for immigrants unable to get traditional ID cards, a move likely to anger advocates of tougher immigration enforcement.Once again, I urge the MSM not to follow the money.
The cards would be accepted by all city agencies and organizations that receive city funding. Ammiano plans to introduce the legislation within a couple of weeks. He also is trying to persuade financial institutions to allow residents to use the cards to open accounts.
...Mayor Gavin Newsom has been resolute in defending San Francisco's sanctuary status, and on Thursday his spokesman said Newsom supports Ammiano's idea for a card, which could be used for libraries, golf courses, public transportation and other services.
Also quoted: "immigrant-rights advocate" Renee Saucedo, "co-director of the San Francisco Day Labor Program, a project of La Raza Centra Legal."
As previously discussed, New Haven Connecticut is passing out ID cards to their residents, including illegal aliens. The program was designed by a current city employee who used to head up a non-profit organization (Junta for Progressive Action) that's collaborating with the Mexican government.
Now, it turns out that Mayor John DeStefano or others may have a financial stake in the matter. It involves DeStefano possibly going to work for a bank that was started to give loans to serve the low income "immigrant" community, and the bank was started with part of a "contribution" from another bank that wanted to change their charter. This is all just speculation, but it does need to be investigated.
7/29/07 UPDATE: From newhavenindependent.org/archives/2007/07/immigrants_line.php
The [unnamed] group claims DeStefano will profit from the ID because he is on the board of directors at the First City Fund Corp, a $25 million fund formed as a benefit to the community when the New Haven Savings Bank got converted into NewAlliance Bank. The mayor said he would probably sit on the board of directors of the new community bank, which has agreed to let patrons open a new bank account using the Elm City ID... DeStefano dismissed the issue as a bogus argument veiling underlying bigotry. "There is no compensation whatsoever" to board members, he said. "[Protesters] are afraid to articulate their ignorance and their prejudice about this population, so what they do is they lie. They lie, and they cloak themselves in the American flag as they do it."
I'm sure we're all looking forward to one day seeing DeStefano doing the perp walk.
There's more on the bank here: newhavenindependent.org/archives/2007/02/a_banker_a_drea.php
Increasingly, [Mexico's consulates] are also acting as influential free agents in a broken immigration system that Congress is trying to overhaul. As the consulate that opened last month in Little Rock illustrates, the Mexican government is following its citizens far from the border into the growing quarters of Latino migration, much of it illegal...Previously: over two years ago I first mentioned the planning for the outpost (with a Mike Huckabee link) and a month ago I posted about its grand opening.
...Consulate officials in Little Rock acknowledge that the 6,000-square-foot piece of Mexican territory occupying a former medical clinic serves all Mexican citizens, regardless of immigration status...
...The [Matricular Consular card] is honored in the United States by many police agencies, employers and - most important - by banks, which are used by countless immigrants to send billions of dollars home every year. But it is a lightning rod for critics of illegal immigration, who see it as a demonstration of the Mexican government's helping its citizens live in the United States illegally...
...There are 539 foreign consulates in the United States, and Mexico has more than any other country. (After Mexico, Canada has 19, Japan 17 and Britain 12)...
...[Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies] said Mexico went further than other countries that issue such cards, including the United States, by lobbying banks and law enforcement agencies to recognize the cards as valid identification, knowing full well that most legal residents would not need such a card...
...The [Matricular Consular card] was "one of the major areas of activity" at consulates, he said, adding, "The point being to 'document' the undocumented and make an end run around Congress."...
Former Republican Georgia Congressman Bob Barr - also an advisor to the ACLU, a group indirectly linked to the Mexican government - comes out in support of Bank of America's credit card for illegal aliens in "Immigration indigestion" (link). He ends up sounding like Bill Press, and makes the same fundamental error as he did:
When word surfaced recently that some banks, such as Bank of America, were allowing individuals to open accounts, apply for credit cards and obtain home mortgages even though they did not possess a Social Security number, it was not Big Government Liberals who rose up in arms to stop "greedy" financial institutions from offering such services. It was Small Government Republicans, like Colorado's Tom Tancredo and Californians Ed Royce and John Doolittle, who waxed indignant that banks engaged in such a free market activity as extending credit to someone who proved creditworthy but did not have a Social Security number.
The problem is that that isn't the "free market", it's the "corrupt market". Banks were not originally allowed to accept Mexico's Matricula Consular ID card, but the Bush administration fought to change that. That's despite both the FBI and the DOJ pointing out that the cards were not a reliable means of identification and would provide "an opportunity for terrorists to move freely in the United States". As detailed at the last link, the Mexican government is allowed to visit their outposts in the U.S. and distribute them like candy.
The "natural order" of things was not to accept those cards; political corruption and the Bush administration's support for corporatism led to the change.
Apparently, Chris Casacchia of the Business Journal of Phoenix contacted various banks asking whether - like Bank of America - they were going to give credit cards to illegal aliens. A JPMorgan Chase & Co. spokeswoman said they have no such plans. Compass Bank "were not prepared to comment" for the story.
However, as could be expected, the bank that put support for illegal immigration on the map says that they're considering it.
Wells Fargo vice president of regional banking communications Marge Rice says:
"We are exploring the possibility of offering unsecured credit cards to Wells Fargo checking account customers who do not have Social Security numbers... Wells Fargo recognizes a great need for equal access to financial products and services for all customers who want to build credit, establish financial security and achieve the 'American dream'".
If you're a member of the media, you can contact Wells Fargo at email@example.com. Others, please use this form: https://www.wellsfargo.com/contactus
If you'd like to move your accounts to a bank that supports our immigration laws, refer to this list.
"At face value the program seems to be problematic," said Russ Knocke, a [Department of Homeland Security] spokesman. "It seems to be lending itself to possibilities of perpetrating identity theft or creating more risk for money laundering."Then, almost at the bottom of the article, we're treated to the news that another bank knows exactly who it's dealing with:
...[Rep. Tom Tancredo] said he sent a letter to U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking them to look into the program.
"I hope the administration will shut down this reckless and illegal program before Bank of America extends a line of credit to a potential terrorist," said Tancredo, a hard-line foe of illegal immigration...
Since then, Wells has opened more than 1 million accounts for Mexicans using the consular card. It also accepts Guatemalan, Argentine and Colombian identity cards. The assumption is that most immigrants using the cards to identify themselves are here illegally, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Trigg said, but the bank doesn't ask.
Bank of America is currently offering credit cards to residents of Los Angeles County who only have ITIN numbers and who don't have either a social security number or a credit history. That strongly implies that those credit recipients are illegal aliens. Later this year the bank hopes to expand the program nationwide.
For those who don't understand why this is horrifically bad, this bank is indirectly profiting from unlawful activity. And, they're explicitly going after that market. If you're one of those people who don't agree this is bad, imagine some form of illegal activity that you believe is bad for society. Then, imagine BofA going after that market.
And, the bank couldn't do this if they knew the government wasn't going to turn a blind eye to it. And, the bank no doubt donates to political candidates, and they will almost certainly only donate to politicians who will help the bank make more money.
Let's imagine that a few years from now BofA is making a handsome profit from this card. Then, some politician proposes forbidding banks from engaging in this practice. Do you think BofA is going to just let some politician cut off the money flow? Isn't it more likely that they're going to donate to those politicians who'll allow more illegal immigration and who'll support companies trying to profit from that indirect illegal activity? (A tangible example: when Tom Tancredo merely suggested taxing remittances, Western Union/First Data began publicly supporting - and funding - his Democratic opponent).
In summary, Bank of "America"'s actions rely on and will lead to political corruption. And, the bank would not do this if the Bush administration were not completely corrupt.
As for what you can do about this:
- Hopefully, BofA will eventually face both civil suits and criminal prosecutions for their scheme, and that might have a serious impact on their stock price. If you're a shareholder, express your concern. Even better, if you belong to a pension plan that invests in the bank, express your concern to the manager of the plan, and tell others to do the same.
- Watch for news reports and editorials concerning the card, and write letters to the ombudsman or editor, or leave comments.
- Contact your representatives and urge them to remove any loopholes that allow banks to engage in this activity or to investigate their activites.
- If you have any business with BofA, transfer it to some other bank; make sure they don't have a similar policy on ITIN numbers or Matricula Consular cards first.
- Stop supporting anyone linked to the Bush administration.
U.S. Treasurer wants Mexico to become even more reliant on remittances
Have Oklahoma banks admitted to aiding and abetting illegal immigration?
St. Peter Catholic Church, Jupiter Florida, supports illegal immigration
Arizona Republic almost does expose on Western Union
remesamex.gob.mx features Bank of "America", Wells Fargo, and Western Union
Profiting off illegal activity in Santa Ana, California
Georgia Sen. Sam Zamarripa involved with a bank
Bank of America was the title sponsor of the NCLR Annual Conference
Citibank "recruiting" illegal aliens for home loans
"Banks aim to help immigrants send money home"
Bank of "America"
Their money or your safety
UPDATE: An unconfirmed comment here says:
All of you Bank of America customers call the number on the back of your ATM cards and push ZERO to speak to a customer service representative. Then ask to fill out a voice of the customer form. The representative will enter your comments and it will get mailed to the quality assurance & customer satisfaction department. The bank takes these forms very seriously. Lodge your complaint and make your voice ring loud and proud to Bank of America President Ken Lewis.
UPDATE 2: According to this:
[Bank of America] executives said participants needed another form of identification, such as ID cards issued by foreign consulates.
In Mexico's case, that refers to the Matricula Consular card. In 2004, the Bush administration twisted arms to allow banks to accept that card as identification, despite both the FBI and the DHS admitting that the card was a security risk.
UPDATE 3: From this:
Bank of America wants all media inquiries about the credit cards for illegals program to be directed to Betsy Weinberger at 1-704-387-7376. This is your chance to be a John and Ken Assistant Producer for the day!
Banks worried about being called felons just because they may have aided and abetted illegal aliens - 05/09/06
As discussed below , if a bank knows that someone is here illegally, and then gives them a home loan that allows them to stay here illegally, hasn't that bank committed a felony under current law?
The Mexican consulate has announced a program which puts a face, literally, on thousands of Mexican immigrants.
Authorities say something as simple as an identification card will save money and lives.
It's an important day for immigrants. Many of them live and work in the shadows, with no formal identification card and no place to put their money.
Who is the FDIC? And, why are they working with a foreign government to subvert our laws? - 09/20/04
The FDIC - "an independent agency of the federal government" - is working with the Mexican consulate in Chicago, banks, and community groups to give home loans to "immigrants." If they're legal immigrants, and thus American citizens (or on their way), why is a foreign government involved?
The article "NWI banks offer home loans to undocumented immigrants" (link) explains why: