October 9, 2006, - 5:23 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR VARIOUS UPDATES ****
**** UPDATE: I forgot to start this out with the most important part: This is the story of doing the job some Americans just won’t do. The Arizona Attorney General is doing the job against Western Union that one American, Julie L. Myers, head of ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement), just won’t do–investigating the pay scheme that gets illegal aliens smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico. Stopping the money flow will aid in stopping the illegal alien flow. END UPDATE ****
How do illegal alien smugglers get paid? They get money wired to them in Mexico from others here in the U.S. . . . VIA WESTERN UNION.
That’s right Western Union is the legal Hawala (Islamic money transfer system) for illegal aliens, only in this case it’s not necessarily Muslim.
Today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription only) has a very interesting article about something we’ve been hearing about. Western Union makes millions in the illegal alien trade, and it’s not just from aliens wiring money back to relatives back in Mexico. A lot of it is from relatives or employers of illegal aliens here wiring the money to Mexico to the heads of smuggling cartels, once they determine that their smugglee is here.
According to the Wall St. Journal, the brave person doing the crackdown is a State official and predictably, Western Union is upset over this loss of a huge source of its revenue. A few excerpts:
In late September, Arizona General Terry Goddard moved to block electronic payments to traffickers obtaining warrants to seize all Western Union money transfers of at least $500 going to the Mexican state of Sonora, directly south of the Arizona border, and originating in 29 U.S. state–including California, New York, Florida, Illinois and Georgia. . . .
In court filings, Western Union called Arizona’s use of the warrants a “threat of incalculable damages.” The crackdown is harming innocent people, whose money is being held indefinitely, Western Union says. “May of the people are just frightened,” Chief Executive Christina Gold said in an interview. “Some of them don’t speak Engllish and are not sure what’s going on.”
Uh, Christina and Western Union, ya think the fact they don’t speak our language is a hint they ain’t legal?
The Journal also reports that Western Union clerks were caught taking bribes in exchange for accepting fake IDs from a recipient and
[an Arizona] audit found that in certain outlets more than half of the recipients of money transfers used fake Social Security cards to pick up funds.
So what Does Western Union say? Basically, screw you, America:
Western Union says there isn’t much it can do about money tranferred legally over its network but that may be part of an illegal enterprise. “We are not . . . law enforcement agents,” Western Union said in a statement.
And Western Union whines Arizona laws restricting money transfers are “exceedingly strict.” as they should be.
Western Union moved $42 billion around the globe, last year, and takes a good cut of what it moves. But apparently, that’s not enough. Western Union was just spun off from its parent company, and it’s desperate to get its share price up. More of what I’ve been writing about with regard to capitalism without limits. Western Union is bummed out that since the Arizona AG has been enforcing the law,
money transfers year-to-date between the U.S. and Mexico grew only 3% compared with a year earlier.
Arizona officials estimate that 95% of illegal aliens crossing the border contract with smuggling cartels in Mexico, charging $1,600 per alien they bring over the border. When their friends or employers wire payment to Mexico, they are released to their custody.
Over a two-month period in early 2005, $28 million was wired from the U.S. to Sonora . . . . The Arizona Attorney General says $19 million–or 67% of the total–was wired to just eight Western Union agents [out of 201 licensed in the area] in five Mexican cities . . .–all “launching pads on or near the Arizona border where groups of immigrants gather to cross illegally.
In the Sonoran city of Altar, a bustling town 50 miles south of Sasabe, a border village that is a popular crossing point, one Western Union customer received $68,000 in 34 payments over a two-month period, or $2,000 every two days. “The apparent brazen activity of pick-up operators in northern Sonora is no doubt due to the complete lack of law-enforcement investigation of wires sent to those locations,” states an affidavit sworn by Daniel Kelly, a financial cimres investigator with the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Spurred by those findings, Mr. Goddard, that state Attorney General, early this year began ordering Western Union to fingerprint recipients, demand multiple forms of identification and take other precautions. Frustrated that transfers to coyotes appeared to be shifting outside Arizona, Mr. Goddard moved to begin seizing transfers from other states in September. Western Union responded by seeking court relief.
“It’s gone from ‘amicable’ and ‘in discussions’ to bringing this to court,” says Mr. Goddard, who adds he still hopes to negotiate a settlement with Western Union.
We hope Western Union doesn’t just get to pay a few mill, Wal-Mart style, and get away with it. Arizona allowed Western Union to pay $3 million to end a state probe regarding agents who accepted fake or illegible ID cards.
**** UPDATE: Reader T.S. writes:
If you divide the $28 million sent to Mexico for the $1,600 per head fee for smuggling you get 17,500 more illegal aliens committing crimes, lowering wages and voting in liberals in a 2 month period. Those are impressive numbers.
Keep up the good work.
Yes, negatively impressive, unfortunately.
Tags: AG, America, Arizona, Arizona Attorney General, Arizona border, Arizona Department of Public Safety, Attorney General, California, Chief Executive, Christina Gold, Daniel Kelly, Debbie Schlussel, Does Western Union, financial cimres investigator, Florida, General, Georgia, head, Illinois, Julie L. Myers, law enforcement agents, law-enforcement investigation, Mexico, New York, Sasabe, Sonora, state Attorney, State official, Terry Goddard, United States, USD, Wal-Mart, Wall Street Journal, Western Union