MARCH 09, 2007
Responding to a U.S. banking trend of issuing credit cards and other services to illegal immigrants, a Tennessee lawmaker has introduced legislation that would ban the practice.
Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, a strong advocate of securing the southern border, wants U.S. financial institutions to stop facilitating life for those living in the country illegally by offering them unprecedented services that should only be available to legal residents.
Her bill, the Photo Identification Security Act, would do just that because it would require banks to accept only secure forms of identification to obtain credit. Those would include a foreign or U.S. passport, a Citizenship and Immigration Services photo identification card or a legitimate Social Security card in conjunction with a state or federal identification. In other words, only legal U.S. residents would be able to conduct financial transactions.
Major financial institutions – Bank of America and Wells Fargo, among them – offer services and credit cards to people they know are in the country illegally. They accept consular “matricula” cards, issued by the Mexican government, as official identification even thought the cards are not valid in this country.
In fact, when Wells Fargo proudly launched its home loan program for illegal immigrants (called Celebrate Home) last November, bank officials said they are not required to ask the immigration status of their customers because that is the responsibility of the federal government. The banking giant added that there is nothing wrong with helping those in the country illegally obtain the American dream of owning a home.
If the proposed law is enacted, that will clearly change and banks across the country will face punitive consequences for violating it.
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