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 Senate Rejects Vitter Amendment to Prevent Terrorists, Illegal Aliens from Getting Credit Cards

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Join date : 2009-04-22
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PostSubject: Senate Rejects Vitter Amendment to Prevent Terrorists, Illegal Aliens from Getting Credit Cards   Tue May 19, 2009 3:37 am

Senate Rejects Vitter Amendment to Prevent Terrorists, Illegal Aliens from Getting Credit Cards

Last week, during debate over a bill to regulate the credit card industry, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) offered an amendment (Amendment #1066) that would have established new rules with respect to how banks issue credit cards. (Vitter Press Release, May 13, 2009). The amendment would have required that banks verify the identification of any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States before they were permitted to open a credit card account. In addition to preventing the ability of illegal aliens to obtain credit cards, Senator Vitter's press release stated the amendment "would have also closed the loophole that allowed the September 11, 2001 hijackers to obtain credit cards from United States banks to finance their terrorist activities." (Id.).

After the 9/11 attacks, Congress created the "9/11 Commission" to investigate the facts that led up to the attacks. Commission staff issued a public report detailing how the 9/11 hijackers were able to circumvent not only the U.S.'s immigration laws but also how they were able to finance their activities in the U.S. - by using ATM and credit cards issued by U.S. banks. (See Chapter 4 of the staff's Monograph on Terrorist Financing). A portion of that monograph stated: "The 9/11 attack provides a good case study of how a large terrorist cell can be financed in the United States…. [including accessing] accounts overseas… with credit or ATM cards." (Page 52). According to the findings of Commission staff, the terrorists had used this method to finance their operations "up until September 10." (Page 58).

In order to address these findings, Congress required the Department of Treasury, as part of the USA Patriot Act, to issue regulations requiring banks to verify the identity of their customers. 9/11 Commission staff described Section 326 as follows: "banks must obtain and accurately record key identifying information about their customers, including date of birth, Social Security number, and passport number." (Page 61). Unfortunately, the final regulations issued by the Bush Administration did not live up to the intent of Congress, as described by the 9/11 Commission staff. As commentators have said, those final regulations were "not as burdensome as [had] been in the proposal stage," thereby leaving a gaping loophole which allowed each bank to develop its own "risk-based approach" to determine who their customers were. (Lexis-Nexis, Bridger Insight. See also Department of Treasury Press Release on regulations, April 30, 2003).

Senator Vitter noted during debate over his amendment that, since 9/11, many banks have been exploiting the loophole in the Treasury regulations to begin issuing credit and ATM cards to illegal aliens. (Congressional Record, Page 5421, May 13, 2009. See also, Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2007). The obvious implications of the Treasury regulations in regards to immigration would allow illegal aliens to send remittances back to relatives in their home country in much the same way that the 9/11 hijackers were able to access their funds while in the United States. Senator Vitter described his amendment, saying: "It simply empowers the [Federal Reserve] to come up with appropriate regulations to ensure that credit cards are only issued to folks who are in the country legally, to ensure that we don't empower and facilitate illegal aliens and terrorists…." (Id.).

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, spoke in opposition to the Vitter amendment and, for reasons explained herein, erroneously stated for reasons explained herein, that the Vitter Amendment was "already included in section 326 of the USA PATRIOT Act. It is redundant and not necessary…." (Id.). Dodd also stated: "this bill is designed specifically to deal with credit card reform" and then inexplicably suggested it was inappropriate for Congress to consider the Vitter Amendment, which deals with how banks issue credit cards, as part of a credit card reform bill. Dodd continued saying "a matter such as this obviously belongs in a more appropriate place." (Congressional Record, Page 5422, May 13, 2009). Finally, Dodd told his Senate colleagues that the Treasury Department was also opposed to the Vitter Amendment. (Id.). The Vitter Amendment was rejected by the Senate by a vote of 28 to 65. (Roll Call Vote 190, May 13, 2009).

http://www.fairus.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=20507&security=1601&news_iv_ctrl=1721#1

Be advised that Senator Kay Hagan http://hagan.senate.gov/?p=contact
voted against the Vitter Amendment (H.R. 627), while Senator Burr voted for it. Feel free to express your feelings on the matter to Senator Hagan at the link above if you would like.
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PostSubject: Re: Senate Rejects Vitter Amendment to Prevent Terrorists, Illegal Aliens from Getting Credit Cards   Tue May 19, 2009 12:51 pm

She will be hearing from me, and I will be very politely but forcefully asking her why she is working against the interest of national security and against her constituents. Just wonder if she has gotten any campaign contributions from foreign entities supporting getting rid of their own terrorist cells, and others getting rid of their surplus population, most of whom are uneducated. Or did she see this amendment as discrimination against foreigners in their "right" to pursue "commerce"?
To me is only common sense that we structure laws for the good of the American people, not for the benefit of the world outside these borders!
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