Thursday, March 8, 2007

Visas before Visas

Money and morality have always been in tension, yet one hopes that, every once a while, principles trump pocketbooks.

This is not the case with Bank of America, which, following the precedent set by Citibank, recently announced a pilot program issuing credit cards to Spanish-speaking immigrants who may not have Social Security numbers (SSN). Instead, the Bank now asks for either an ID provided by the Mexican Consulate to its citizens or an Individual Taxpayers Identification Number issued by the IRS.

The Bank says the program is not aimed at illegal immigrants, yet those without an SSN are most often here illegally. This is not a coincidence but a deliberate business decision. Indeed, according to the Wall Street Journal, which originally reported this story, the Bank’s 51 test branches in Los Angeles County are home to the largest concentration of illegals in the U.S.

In other words, Bank of America views illegal immigrants not as lawbreakers but as customers. America is in the throes of an immigration crisis, yet Bank of America chooses to perpetuate the problem by rewarding those who consider themselves above the law. The end game is obvious: as Steven Camakrota of the Center for Immigration Studies observes, it makes “amnesty a fait accompli.”

Such effrontery is to be expected from those who storm our borders under the cover of darkness, but it is particularly disturbing when a towering American corporation sides with this crowd rather than its counterparts who have waited in long lines and completed unending paperwork in order to enter America legally.

Fortunately, there is hope, and her name is Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). On Monday, Mrs. Blackburn introduced the Photo Identification Security Act, which requires U.S. financial institutions to accept only secure forms of identification, such as a Social Security card in conjunction with a state or federal ID, a passport, or a Citizenship and Immigration Services photo ID.

In a word, Blackburn’s bill reverses a corrupt trend: one must now obtain a visa before one is eligible for a Visa.