U.S. Govt. Banking Program Facilitates Remittances To Mexico


Amid the discord ignited by Donald Trump’s idea to block money transfers to Mexico until it funds a wall it’s important to note that a U.S. government program is largely responsible for the billions in remittances flowing south of the border from illegal immigrants.

The program is called “Directo a Mexico” (Direct to Mexico) and the Federal Reserve, the government agency that serves as the nation’s central bank, launched it nearly a decade ago. Judicial Watch investigated the outrageous taxpayer-subsidized initiative and obtained government records back in 2006. It was created by President George W. Bush following the 2001 U.S.-Mexico Partnership for Prosperity, undermines our nation’s immigration laws and is a potential national security nightmare. The goal was to provide low-cost banking services to illegal immigrants and facilitate the process for those sending money home. Remittances are transferred through the Federal Reserve’s own automated clearinghouse linked directly to Mexico’s central bank (Banco de Mexico).

At the time Federal Reserve officials acknowledged that most of the Mexicans who send money home are illegal immigrants so a Mexican-issued identification is the only requirement to use the government banking service. A colorful brochure promoting “Directo a Mexico” offered to help immigrants who don’t have bank accounts and assured the best foreign exchange rate and low transfer fees. A frequently asked question section posed this:

“If I return to Mexico or am deported, will I lose the money in my bank account?” The answer: “No. The money still belongs to you and can easily be accessed at an ATM in Mexico using your debit card.”

In short, the U.S. created this special banking system specifically for illegal aliens and tens of billions of dollars have flowed through it, according to figures obtained by JW from Banco de Mexico.

This is worth noting because news coverage of Trump’s plan to fund a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border has omitted this important information, instead focusing on the negative impact to the Mexican economy if remittances are cut. In fact, the mainstream newspaper that first published the Republican presidential candidate’s idea wrote that it “could decimate the Mexican economy.”

Another article, published by a national newswire, said “any move to target payments sent home by people living in the United States could have a crushing financial effect in Mexico, the leading recipient of U.S. remittances.” Various other reports have focused on the devastating effects that cutting remittances will have on poor Mexicans that depend on their U.S. relatives to survive.

Under the Republican presidential candidate’s plan, an anti-terrorism law would be used to halt remittances made by illegal aliens unless Mexico makes a payment of $5 billion to $10 billion for a wall along the southern border. President Obama called it a “half-baked” plan that would create turmoil within the Mexican economy and would result in more Mexicans fleeing to the U.S. looking for work, according to a news report.

Mexico’s largest newspaper writes this week that Trump has shaken up that country’s government and his hostility towards Mexicans has threatened to make the U.S. a nightmare for all Mexicans, even if the billionaire businessman doesn’t win the presidential election.

The motto of Judicial Watch is “Because no one is above the law”. To this end, Judicial Watch uses the open records or freedom of information laws and other tools to investigate and uncover misconduct by government officials and litigation to hold to account politicians and public officials who engage in corrupt activities.