Left hand gives; Right hand takes away

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 3:32 pm by Neal

Here’s a story on the dysfunctional state of the Imperial Federal government: “Immigrants who wire money get help from the Fed”

WASHINGTON — Even as the federal government is starting to crack down on companies that hire illegal immigrants, it’s been helping those same workers send money home, cheap.

Dubbed Directo a Mexico, the Federal Reserve-sponsored service allows customers without Social Security numbers to wire money through the Fed system to Mexico’s central bank at little cost. In September, the Fed expanded the remittance program by allowing immigrants, legal or not, to open accounts at participating banks and credit unions in the U.S. or Mexico. About 27,000 transfers are made through the program each month.

The program has attracted the attention of conservative immigration activists and members of Congress, who say financial institutions shouldn’t cater to illegal immigrants. …

Elizabeth McQuerry, an Atlanta-based assistant vice president for the Fed’s retail payments office, said Directo a Mexico wasn’t breaking any laws. She said the program complied with the Patriot Act, the Bank Secrecy Act and other laws against money laundering. Customers must provide identification — a consular identification card or other picture ID — and banks regularly check the documents’ authenticity, she said.

Fed staffers developed the program with counterparts at Mexico’s central bank after President Bush announced it with then-Mexican President Vicente Fox in 2003. About 150 banks and credit unions participate, including 20 in California, McQuerry said.

Directo a Mexico was intended for all Mexicans living in the U.S. It did not specifically exclude those here illegally.

Only immigrants who are in the U.S. legally can get a Social Security number, but any Mexican national can get a consular ID, regardless of legal status.

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), an advocate of increased border security who has talked in the past of taxing illegal immigrants’ remittances, said the Fed program might not be breaking any financial laws, but “there is a law against aiding and abetting illegal aliens in this country.”

There you go. On the one hand, the Federal government expends enormous resources to prosecute non-crimes like the Scooter Libby debacle; on the other hand, the same government that cracks-down to the extreme on legal citizens is actually assisting illegal aliens — lawbreakers by definition — to further evade the law.

This is government, however, so expecting consistency, priority, and rationality out of such a behemoth is naive. Hell, our government is so bloated and out-of-control that it can’t even obey its own laws.

Now go be a good little citizen, and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

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