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• Remittances to Mexico
• Incentive for illegal aliens living in the U.S. to return to their home country

A Two Step Approach that Begins to Solve the Current Immigration Crisis

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By —— Bio and Archives June 27, 2018

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A Two Step Approach that Begins to Solve the Current Immigration Crisis
A feckless Congress has failed to face up to the issue of illegal immigration. Even if the House had passed an immigration reform bill it would have been dead on arrival in the Senate. The President has pinned his hopes for immigration reform on the Republicans retaining control of the House and gaining seats in the Senate in the upcoming mid-term election.

Sadly, even if that turns out to be the case, given that 41 Republicans voted against the Goodlatte Immigration Bill, the chances of the House passing any meaningful legislation are slim. If a bill did make it through the House, it would die in the Senate unless Senate Majority Leader McConnell had the courage to change the Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster, and he shows no sign that he would be willing to do that. Even if he did try to change the Senate rules, there are probably enough never-Trump Republican Senators to block such a move.

So what can the President do if Republican control of Congress is insufficient to bring about real immigration reform? Fortunately, he has an arrow in his quiver that could force Mexico to begin enforcing its own immigration laws instead of helping illegal migrants break ours.

He could begin by ordering the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Department of Justice to vigorously enforce existing money laundering laws by prosecuting both illegal aliens who attempt to remit funds to Mexico and the banks and individual bankers who process these financial remittances. 

U.S. Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 95, Section 1956 states:

Whoever, knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, conducts or attempts to conduct such a financial transaction… shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.

Whoever transports, transmits, or transfers, or attempts to transport, transmit, or transfer a monetary instrument or funds from a place in the United States to or through a place outside the United States...shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transportation, transmission, or transfer, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.

Any financial institution or any officer, director, or employee of any financial institution...found guilty of an offense under this section…shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense.

Remittances to Mexico

Any monies earned by a person living in the United States illegally are the result of an unlawful activity because that person cannot legally hold a job and earn money in the U.S. An illegal alien who transfers monies earned in the United States to a foreign country is guilty of money laundering since the monies were the result of an unlawful activity. A bank and the bank employees that facilitate such a transfer also are guilty of money laundering. Strict enforcement of the money laundering statute would serve several purposes.

First it would cut off the flow of remittances to Mexico. These remittances represent a substantial portion of Mexico’s GDP. As long as the remittances keep flowing into Mexico, the Mexican Government is rewarded for supporting illegal immigration into the United States. But if the U.S. made it clear that the remittances were going to be stopped, and those assets forfeited as required by law to the U.S. Treasury, then Mexico might see the light and agree to seal its borders and begin enforcing its own quite strict immigration laws.

Second, it would create an incentive for illegal aliens living in the U.S. to return to their home country. There is no point in coming here to earn money if you cannot send it home to your family.

Enforcing our money laundering laws does nothing to address the current state of affairs on our southern border, but it does provide a disincentive for those economic migrants contemplating coming to this country illegally.

Continued below...

The second step the President could take would be to have our DHS and HHS officials explain to the aliens who are being detained pending judicial review of their claim to asylum that given the delays in processing due to the enormous backlog that the U.S. would be willing to provide them with safe passage to Canada. How many would accept that offer is an open question, but Prime Minister Trudeau has criticized the Presidents zero-tolerance for illegal immigration policy and noted that by comparison Canada is a more welcoming country. This would give him an opportunity to prove it.

The two steps that I’ve proposed that the President take will not solve America’s illegal immigration problem. We still will need a wall on our southern border to stop the drug smugglers and human traffickers. We also will need:

  • to eliminate the visa lottery system and replace it with a merit based system.
  • to eliminate the cap on H2B visas.
  • to require that all employers use the e verify system.
  • to provide for people who found gainful employment after they entered the U.S. illegally to become legal temporary workers.
  • to end chain migration and amend the Constitution so that children of aliens born on U.S. soil do not automatically become U.S. citizens

But all of these steps will require passing immigration reform legislation, and since that’s not going to happen anytime in the foreseeable future, what I’ve proposed are two steps the President can and should take.

Al Kaltman -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Al Kaltman is a political science professor who teaches a leadership studies course at George Washington University.  He is the author of Cigars, Whiskey and Winning: Leadership Lessons from General Ulysses S. Grant.