NEW YORK -- The controversy over Bank of America's offering undocumented migrants Visa cards has spilled into the pages of one of the nation's major papers.
Kenneth Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, has written a piece in the Wall Street Journal that defended his bank's offering Visa cards to undocumented migrants.
In the Feb. 22 issue, Lewis wrote that the intent of the program was to help Bank of America customers build credit history and not to serve every customer who was legally eligible for service would not be fair.
"[W]e believe we have an obligation to serve all those in our country who are legally eligible to receive services," Lewis wrote. "To do less would be discriminatory and unfair."
Lewis pointed out that the USA Patriot Act allows the bank to accept the controversial Matricula Consular, a form of documentation issued by the Mexican Government to undocumented nationals in the U.S., as identification for opening accounts and receiving services. But he also admitted that undocumented migrants who are here illegally have been able to receive services from the bank, as well as from other financial institutions in the U.S.
Lewis said 84% of participants in its card pilot program have social security numbers and the remaining 16% had identification that they are allowed to use under U.S. law.