Credit Unions Should Not Serve Illegals: Letter to the Editor
After reading Peter Strozniak’s article, Outreach Efforts Continue Despite Immigration Reform Stall, (CU Times, Oct. 1, 2014), I thought for a moment that I must have read about some of our politicians who would gladly sell their country in return for votes and that infamous American form of bribe known as a “campaign contribution.”
Then reality quickly set in; the author was in effect advocating that credit unions facilitate illegal migration into the United States.
One Webster definition of immigrant is “a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.” That definition makes good sense. The immigrant, as many of our forefathers and mothers did, comes to this country expecting to stay permanently. That definition, however, precludes the use of the term immigrant being applied to so-called undocumented immigrants. Since those aliens are here illegally, they cannot take up residence, for one cannot be both resident, which implies a legal status, and illegal.
The first step is thus simply to drop the term illegal immigrant, or undocumented immigrant, from our discourse; undocumented is just another way to describe the status of an alien who is not legal.
Mr. Strozniak in his opening paragraph writes about “serving the 11 million undocumented immigrants in anticipation of Congress passing the long-awaited comprehensive immigration reform bill”.
Leaving aside the reality that in our current political climate, Mr. Strozniak’s anticipation may be lengthy, let’s cut right to the chase: Credit unions have no more business serving illegal aliens than they have serving money launderers. Both are illegal! That the current administration will more likely ignore serving the illegal alien than serving the money launderer does not make the former any more right.
There is potential for overlap between the two. How does a credit union perform its legal duty to affirm the legal identity of its customer in the case of an illegal alien? It cannot, for even if the illegal alien produces some sort of identification, by definition that identification is suspect. If the illegal alien has sneaked across the border, we cannot be reasonably assured that he has not sneaked some sort of phony ID. One illegal activity tends to beget another illegal activity. Here the illegal migration and the money laundering may well mix. No credit union should go anywhere near that unlawful combination. It is a shadow world and credit unions have no business operating in that environment.
Read more: Legitimate businesses sometimes have to forgo opportunities ...
I have no hesitation whatsoever about serving the legal alien population, whether determined to stay permanently or not. Credit unions should include that population in their marketing efforts just as they should all other legal sectors of their market or potential market. The only limitation on such service should be that it does not expand to the point of infringing upon the rights and benefits of U.S. citizens. For instance, no U.S. citizen should be precluded from serving in any job other than translator because he or she does not speak a non-English language; that is why we have translators. Otherwise, let’s all be good hosts and hopefully add to our capital in the process.
Mr. Stozniak goes on to say in the middle of his article that “by refusing to accept other forms of ID, financial institutions are missing out on an opportunity to serve undocumented [i.e., illegal] immigrants”.
Well, there are just certain opportunities which we have to forgo in a legitimate business. The credit union serving illegal aliens would be aiding and abetting the perpetuation of the aliens’ illegal presence in the United States. No credit union has any duty whatsoever to provide services to illegal aliens, even if some members of the alien’s family are members of the credit union.
In reality, the credit union has a duty not to serve the illegal alien. When Luis Pastor said, “When you are penalized for situations beyond your control or rejected from service, you get discouraged,” he may have unwittingly hit the nail on the head where combatting illegal entry into the United States is concerned. The illegal alien’s situation did not evolve beyond his control until after he made the conscious and controllable (in most, admittedly not all, cases) decision to enter the United States illegally. As for discouragement, there is probably no better tool to dissuade aliens from illegal entry.
This is not the place to discuss why the United States cannot simply open its borders and let anybody come in who wants to come, including the more than one billion people in the world living below the absolute poverty level. Suffice it to say that the days when we were a nation of immigrants, when a German or a Norwegian or anybody else could come through Ellis Island and then simply melt into the Great Plains, are over for good. Today there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines sacrificing life and limb to keep our way of life in our ever more crowded country secure. There are border patrol agents risking and sometimes giving their lives to keep our borders secure. Many of those dedicated public servants have sacrificed much for the good of our country.
Let us not in the credit union industry undercut the efforts of all those who have served and are serving, and essentially laugh in the faces of those still taking the risks, by putting our own business interests above the good of the country, which those who serve are so diligently working to preserve. Some of those very people so faithfully serving our country are also some of our valued credit union members; we must not double cross them. Let us not, as Mr. Strozniak apparently advocates, facilitate the illegal aliens’ presence in this country by making the illegal aliens’ financial lives easier. There is much more involved than just simplistic marketing in pursuit of perceived opportunity, dubious as it is.
This letter represents my personal views and has not in any way received the assistance, approval or encouragement of the HAPO Board, its chairman, or the CEO of HAPO CCU.
William R. Clark
Member, Board of Directors
HAPO Community Credit Union
Editor's note: Correspondent Peter Strozniak and CU Times did not advocate for or against any position relating to immigration. The story instead sourced the opinions and actions of credit union leaders.