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A Republican candidate for a vacated congressional seat in southern California is proposing a ban on wire transfers by illegal aliens from the U.S. to Mexico.
The plan “will remove a major incentive for illegal immigration and increase national security,” said Howard Kaloogian, a well-known California activist who launched the effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis.
Kaloogian is the front-runner for the San Diego-area congressional seat held by Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who was sentenced last week to eight years in prison on corruption charges.
“[T]he Mexican government is making billions of dollars every year from illegal aliens who enter the U.S. illegally and then wire that money back to their families in Mexico,” Kaloogian said Saturday at a news conference at the border.
The economy, he contended, bears the cost of illegal aliens, who pay no taxes but receive taxpayer-funded services.
“It’s absurd that we continue to allow those who have broken the law by entering this nation illegally to then enjoy the benefit of collecting wages illegally and then sending those funds to a foreign nation,” Kaloogian said.
The proposal, if adopted by Congress, would require anyone wiring money to Mexico to provide identification to financial institutions or wire-transfer operators to prove citizenship.
An estimated $15 to $20 billion is moved annually from the U.S. to Mexico through private-party wire transfers.
Howard Kaloogian at Mexican border Saturday
Kaloogian said past legislative proposals involving transfers by illegal aliens merely have imposed an extra fee.
The new proposal, he argued, “will establish leverage with foreign leaders such as Mexico’s Vicente Fox who has sent a wink and a nod to their citizens to enter the United States illegally, collect wages that ad up to 10 times those paid in Mexico and then send those funds back to Mexico.”
Claudia Garcia de Spencer, spokeswoman for the San Diego chapter of the Minutemen volunteer border patrol, spoke at the news conference in support of the proposal.
“Four and a half years after 9-11, our federal and state officials still refuse to confront threats allowing our borders to be breached thousands of times each day by foreigners,” she said. “As a new citizen who followed the procedures and obeyed the rules, this (illegal immigration) is a shocking affront to me and is a slap in the face to all loyal Americans.”
Kaloogian was a California state assemblyman from 1994 to 2000. He helped launch the pro-troops organization Move America Forward. His candidacy has received a variety of endorsements, including support from Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine.
A special election for Cunningham’s congressional seat is scheduled April 11. If no candidate receives a 50 percent majority, run-off will take place between the expected Democrat candidate Carolyn Busby and the top Republican vote-getter.