Federal News Service September 22, 2004 Wednesday
HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE
SUBJECT: LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS TO IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 9/11 COMMISSION
CHAIRED BY: REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL OXLEY (R-OH)
WITNESSES: STUART LEVEY, TREASURY UNDERSECRETARY FOR TERRORISM AND FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE; AND BRIAN ROSEBORO, TREASURY UNDERSECRETARY FOR DOMESTIC FINANCE
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REP. SCOTT GARRETT (R-NJ): I'll try to be rapid on this.
Just following Mr. Royce's comments with regard to the Mexican matricula consular card. Am I able to, as an American citizen, able to get one of these Mexican matricula consular cards and use it at a local bank?
MR. LEVEY: My understanding is that you should not be able to.
REP. GARRETT: Right. So in other words, if I've been living in my community for my entire life, and I go to a local bank, and I wanted to open up a bank account there, I would have to use a document that was made in America, right, like a driver's license, a birth certificate, or some other document that was made here in the United States? Isn't that correct?
MR. LEVEY: Assuming that the bank knew you were an American, that would be something that I would expect them to require.
REP. GARRETT: Right. But if someone crossed the border last night, whether they're legal or illegal, they would be able to into that same bank and be able to use a card that was made by some foreign government, such as Mexico. Is that correct? (Pause.) Right.
MR. LEVEY: I believe so, yes.
REP. GARRETT: Okay.
MR. LEVEY: Yeah.
REP. GARRETT: And the purpose that you said, I heard, listening to your testimony earlier, was to-by not-if-by-the reason you did not want to prohibit them is because you do not want to take-make it more difficult and therefore drive the illegal immigrants in this country into the underground market. Is that correct?
MR. LEVEY: Anyone who wanted to use the matricula card, yes --
REP. GARRETT: Yeah.
MR. LEVEY: -- or any other substandard card --
REP. GARRETT: So how far does that go? What we're basically saying or what your basic testimony is, is that we're trying to make it easier for someone who is in this country to use the financial systems in this country, as opposed to making it harder.
MR. LEVEY: As a general matter, yes, we want to make it easier for people to go into the parts of the financial sector that we have some transparency into, rather than those parts of the sector that we don't. And that is generally what we're trying to do. We're not-we're trying to make it-trying to bring people into the system where they're making transactions that we have some ability to track.
REP. GARRETT: And that, of course, is regardless whether they're in this country legally or whether in this country illegally.
MR. LEVEY: That's correct.
REP. GARRETT: Right. So we're trying to make it-part of your testimony is that we're trying to make it easier for people who are in this country illegally to use our financial system.
MR. LEVEY: What we're trying to do is strike the right balance with respect to financial transparency, to bring as many people as possible-without regard to their immigration status, to bring as many people as possible who are using our financial system-bring them into that part of the financial system that is transparent and that we have some ability to track their transactions, rather than driving more of them into that part which we do not.
REP. GARRETT: And also, your testimony was, as far as-part of the problem right now is that we do not have a uniform system out there, as far as the 50 states, with regard to driver's license and the like, and that maybe somewhere down the road, when we have a more uniform system, we'll be able to, I think, address this problem in a more comprehensive way. I forget your exact words.
MR. LEVEY: Right. The point is, it's not matricula cards that's our only problem. There-the standards for identity cards-I mean, people talk about biometric standards. I-you know, most of-a lot of our driver's licenses, for example, don't have the kind of biometric standards that we would want.
And it is not just bringing people into the financial institutions. There's all sorts of reasons where-places where people use their identification cards. I think, you know, referring to Asa Hutchinson, obviously people boarding airplanes is more of a risk than going into a bank to open an account. So --
REP. GARRETT: And-but --
REP. KELLY: Thank you very much, Mr. Garrett.
REP. GARRETT: But this --
REP. KELLY: Ms. Maloney.
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