The financial industry is making clear it wants no part of Donald Trump’s plan to force Mexico to pay for a border wall.
The GOP nominee says he would convince Mexico to cover the multibillion-dollar cost of his wall by barring Mexicans who are working in the U.S. illegally from sending money back home.
But banks and other financial companies say they do not want to get involved on the front lines in a contentious immigration battle, arguing there are questions about how effectively such a policy could be implemented.
“It should not be for the banking system to be the police or the immigration task force,” said one banking lobbyist. “I don’t think it should be left to banks to report that someone has come in to remit money to whatever country, and it may or may not be legal. That’s not our role.”
Billions of dollars are sent electronically all over the world using the remittance system. But while Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto says he told Trump personally on Thursday his country would never pay for the wall, Trump’s campaign is sticking with their plan.
Under the proposal detailed on Trump’s campaign website, the Republican would rely on a section of the Patriot Act to effectively force banks and money transfer companies to determine whether a person trying to send money abroad is a legal resident of the U.S.
That section of the law was written to crack down on terrorist financing and requires banks and other financial institutions to verify the identities of people opening accounts and doing business with them.
Trump has vowed on his first day in office, he would expand that requirement to include wire transfers and require that no foreign person living in the U.S. can send money outside the country without first proving their legal status.
The businessman predicts that Mexico will agree to pay for a border wall within a matter of days to keep money flowing over the border.
By Peter Schroeder for The Hill
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