Immigrant credit card scheme results in stricter banking bill

12th March 2007
By Julia Chan

In a bid to remedy public unrest over the availability of credit cards to illegal immigrants, legislation has been passed by US representative Marsha Blackburn that will prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining bank accounts at US financial institutions, reported the Business Journal.

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Under the Photo Identification Security Act, finance firms will require secure forms of identification, including a foreign or US passport, a citizenship and immigration services photo ID card, or a Social Security card, along with a state or federal ID. As a result, banking activities can only be conducted by legal US residents.

Controversy over the availability of banking for illegal immigrants first surfaced after Bank of America launched a pilot scheme that enabled those without a Social Security number, including illegal immigrants, to obtain a credit card. The scheme caused much public unrest, with critics calling for a national boycott.

"The American people deserve to know that the integrity and security of our financial institutions will remain intact," Marsha Blackburn said, cited in the Business Journal. "This bill closes a critical loophole that banking institutions have used to circumvent the letter of the law they have used to target illegal aliens as a new source of revenue. It says to banks and illegal immigrants alike: 'You can't get a Visa without a visa.'"

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