Judicial Watch • Federal Reserve Markets “Directo a México” to U.S. Banks for “Migrant” Transfers of $20 Billion in Remittances to Mexico

Federal Reserve Markets “Directo a México” to U.S. Banks for “Migrant” Transfers of $20 Billion in Remittances to Mexico

Federal Reserve Markets “Directo a México” to U.S. Banks for “Migrant” Transfers of $20 Billion in Remittances to Mexico

DECEMBER 04, 2006

Government Program Benefits “Immigrant Workers” Regardless of Legal Status

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released Federal Reserve marketing materials created for “Directo a México” [Direct to Mexico], a new government program designed to facilitate the transfer of funds from immigrant workers in the U.S. – regardless of their legal status – to their relatives in Mexico. Judicial Watch obtained the marketing materials, prepared for presentations to financial institutions in California in early November 2006, from the Retail Payments Office of the Federal Reserve in Atlanta, Georgia.

Marketed as “the best way to send money home,” offering “more pesos for every dollar,” the Federal Reserve’s remittance program charges U.S. financial institutions $0.67 per item to transfer money from the United States to Mexican banks, ensuring a “highly competitive rate.” The Federal Reserve also provides participating U.S. financial institutions with Spanish language promotional materials to “help get your message out.” The program was reportedly launched in response to a directive from President Bush following the 2001 U.S. – Mexico Partnership for Prosperity created by President Bush and then Mexican President Fox. It makes no distinction between “legal” and “illegal” aliens.

The “Directo a México” marketing materials, which are targeted to banks, credit unions and other financial institutions in the U.S., include information on payment channels and benefits to Mexican recipients. These marketing materials also detail the number of Mexican migrants in the United States, 9,328,405, with no distinction between those here illegally or not. A separate list identifies Mexican banks receiving “Directo a México” transfers by branches (8,578) and total bank accounts (41,313,157).

While the federal government is subsidizing and marketing “Directo a México”, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has seized millions of dollars en route to Mexico via Western Union, the largest U.S. money-transfer company. These financial transactions are allegedly linked to a sophisticated drug smuggling and human trafficking racket. Arizona courts have issued warrants that allow state investigators to intercept wire transfers that exceed $500 from 23 states.

“The taxpayer-subsidized ‘Directo a México’ program seems designed to facilitate the transfer of wealth by illegal immigrants outside the United States. This program undermines our nation’s immigration laws and is a potential national security nightmare,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “In the least, the Federal Reserve must limit this program to legal aliens and U.S. citizens only.”

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