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Public Statements

Vitter Introduces Bill to Close Loophole Allowing Illegal Immigrants Banking and Credit Cards

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Location: Washington, DC


Vitter Introduces Bill to Close Loophole Allowing Illegal Immigrants Banking and Credit Cards

Requires Strict Verification of Identity for Bank Accounts and Credit Cards of non-American Citizens

U.S. Sen. David Vitter today announced the introduction of legislation requiring the identification of any individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States to be verified by a financial institution before that individual is permitted to open a bank or credit card account. The bill would also close the loophole that allowed the September 11, 2001 hijackers to obtain credit cards from United States banks to finance their terrorist activities.

"Some banks throughout Louisiana have already stated their intent to accept matricula ID cards as a form of identification. In doing so, they receive no guarantee that the individual presenting such a document is not an illegal immigrant or worse - on a terrorist watch list," said Vitter. "Preventing the use of questionabledocuments as an acceptable form of identification will add another layer of security to the banking process."

In recent weeks, Vitter has called attention to his concerns regarding the issuing of identification cards to individuals of unknown residency status. While these matricula ID cards are not recognized by Louisiana government agencies as an official form of identification, they can be used in some instances to open bank accounts or apply for credit cards. In a telephone call to Julie Myers, Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security, Vitter discussed potential courses of action surrounding the Mexican government's proposed plan to issue matricula cards to Mexican citizens living in Acadiana, regardless of their residency status. Lafayette Parish President Joel Durel ultimately revoked the permit that had been issued to the Mexican Consulate in Houston to use a parish building to issue these IDs.

"We have been fortunate that we have not suffered another horrific attack since 2001 but we should not press that good fortune," said Vitter. "Despite the passage of the PATRIOT Act, loopholes remain in place that allowed the 9/11 terrorists to use our own financial institutions to move forward with their deadly plans."

Vitter's bill would require the identity of all individuals who are not American citizens to be verified through a social security number, a passport number and the country of issuance, an alien identification card number or any combination of the three. To prevent individuals from using matricula ID cards for the purposes of opening banking or credit card accounts, the bill specifically designates unexpired passports as the only acceptable form of identification issued by a foreign government.


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