Let's help Katherine Mangu-Ward find some Reason
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[ITIN numbers are] a reasonable, practical measure and it enables recent arrivals to the country-legal and illegal-to do business on the up-and-up. In fact, these numbers make it easier for those people to pay their way in taxes for the services they use, and easier for the government to track them.
It all sounds so simple when a Reason hack explains it, doesn't it? Of course those who want to think about it at a deeper level might realize that the use of those numbers allows the government to bring in revenue from illegal alien workers, all or almost all of whom are employed contrary to the laws of the country. And, the more illegal immigration, the more that part of the government brings in. Won't that give bureaucrats or legislators an incentive to increase or legitimize in some ways illegal immigration? Is that good public policy? Is Mangu-Ward even concerned with public policy, or only with Bank of America's bottom line?
But Tancredo and Dobbs imply that private companies should be expected to do the work of government, screening illegals better than government itself can manage.
Bank of America is going out of its way to screen *for* illegal aliens by accepting Mexico's Mickey Mouse ID card, the Matricula Consular. If they want to restrict their no-SSN program to only that small number of legal immigrants and visitors who don't have SSNs, they can ask for a visa. (Cue the crickets). One would have to be a complete simpleton (whether working for Reason or not) to pretend that the whole obvious goal of the scheme wasn't simply to give credit to illegal aliens.
"Its practical effect is an amnesty for illegal aliens," declares analyst John Keely, also of the Center for Immigration Studies. But, of course, it's not at all like a nationwide amnesty.
It does allow illegal aliens to build up a credit history, and this won't be the last program giving credit to illegal aliens. And, those recipients will use the credit to further embed themselves into their communities, making it more difficult to deport them. It's certainly not a "comprehensive" amnesty, but it does help those who have that as their goal.
Critics worried about the ethical implications of offering credit cards to lawbreakers would do well to consider the ethical implications of shutting out an underclass from the banking services the rest of us enjoy.
Oddly enough, I don't feel guilty since I support enforcing our immigration laws, something that would eventually greatly reduce that underclass. Perhaps illegal immigration supporters like Reason Magazine might want to look at the several fingers pointing back in their direction: they're the ones responsible for that underclass, now they're sleazily trying to use guilt to help others profit from it.
When an illegal immigrant is faced with unexpected medical bills, surely it is preferable for him to be able to put it on a credit card and pay it off gradually, rather than turn to various unsavory and potentially illegal ways to get his hands on the money.
Even better: what if he could ask his government - while living in his own country - why they won't help him out? (Those from California will note that this is a variant of the scare tactics opponents of proposition 187 used.)
And, of course, Mangu-Ward doesn't go into issues such as the massive political corruption that allowed Bank of America to reach this point, nor does she mention the government of Mexico's endless campaign to get Matricula Consular cards into as many illegal alien hands as possible, nor all the other troubling aspects of this story.
Since Reason is either unaware of or unwilling to discuss those troubling aspects, should anyone trust anything they say?