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Banking on illegal immigration

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 11, 2006 09:32 AM

I’ve noted many times that Big Business on the right is as much to blame for rampant illegal immigration as the open-borders multiculturalists on the left. Case in point via the open-borders WSJ:

As U.S. leaders craft policies to curb illegal immigration from Mexico, the U.S. Federal Reserve is devising programs to extend banking services to undocumented immigrants. A new remittance program aims to bring Mexican migrants who send money home into the mainstream U.S. financial system, regardless of their immigration status.

Dubbed “Directo a Mexico,” the remittance program enables U.S. commercial banks to make money transfers for Mexican workers through the Federal Reserve’s own automated clearinghouse, which is linked to Banco de Mexico, the Mexican central bank.

To use the service, a Mexican need only possess a matricula consular, an I.D. issued by the Mexican consulate in most major U.S. cities to those with proof of Mexican birth or citizenship, or a picture I.D. card issued by the U.S. or another foreign government. The idea is to make it cheaper and safer for Mexican workers to send funds to their relatives.

“We offer an extremely competitive exchange rate,” says Elizabeth McQuerry, an Atlanta-based assistant vice president for the Federal Reserve Bank’s retail payments office. “We cost a third of other providers.”

The majority of immigrants currently make transfers, which average $350 each, through companies like Western Union or a hodgepodge of wire-transfer firms, couriers and others that operate out of storefronts in Hispanic enclaves. Family members then collect the wired cash at a shop in their town or village.

The Federal Reserve Bank and Banco de Mexico launched a cross-country road show over the summer to promote the new funds-transfer program to commercial banks. Banks that offer the service hope to attract new customers. Indeed, one of the Federal Reserve Bank’s goals is to use the program as a springboard for drawing hundreds of thousands of immigrants into the formal U.S. banking system since commercial banks require that those wanting the service first open a savings account.

“People who didn’t have bank accounts establish a relationship with us,” says James Maloney, chairman of Mitchell Bank in Milwaukee, one of the first banks to offer the Federal Reserve Bank’s remittance plan. “It’s great for our business.”

Acknowledging that many Mexicans sending money home are illegal immigrants, the Federal Reserve’s brochure poses the following frequently asked question: “If I return to Mexico or am deported, will I lose the money in my bank account?” The answer: “No. The money still belongs to you and can be easily accessed at an ATM in Mexico using your debit card.”

A fence ain’t gonna fix this.

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Categories: Matricula Consula, Political Correctness

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