Friday, March 09, 2007

"Immigrants who wire money get help from the Fed"

That's the title of an article in the L.A. Times that describes how a "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."

Needless to say, this is controversial. The article references a number of organizations that are trying to get the government to stop this program, but a Fed official is quoted to the effect that "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."

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