OCTOBER 11, 2006
As the immigration debate heats up, the U.S. Government agency that serves as the nation’s central bank has quietly created a program that provides low-cost banking services to illegal immigrants.
To facilitate the process for immigrants sending money home, the Federal Reserve graciously created “Directo a Mexico,” which enables remittances to be transferred through the agency’s own automated clearinghouse linked directly to Mexico’s central bank (Banco de Mexico).
Federal Reserve officials acknowledge that most of the Mexicans who send money home are illegal immigrants in this country so they need only a Mexican-issued identification to use the new government banking service.
In fact, the government’s colorful brochure promoting “Directo a Mexico” has a frequently asked question section that asks: “If I return to Mexico or am deported, will I lose the money in my bank account?” The answer is “No. The money still belongs to you and can easily be accessed at an ATM in Mexico using your debit card.”
Decorated with American and Mexican flags, the Federal Reserve’s two-page brochure also offers to help immigrants who don’t have bank accounts open one and assures the best foreign exchange rate and low transfer fees.
These services may seem ironic from a U.S. Government agency considering the controversy surrounding illegal immigration and reports documenting its high cost to U.S. taxpayers. Created by an act of Congress in 1913, the Federal Reserve has a seven-member board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Members routinely meet with officials from other government agencies as well as members of Congress.
Perhaps they haven’t figured out what one official at the Federation for American Immigration reform recently pointed out: “Anything that makes it easier for people to live in this country illegally is an inducement for illegal immigration.”
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