from The Nation
Interesting that FATCA, which predates CRS is not mentioned here.If the U.S. were interested in reciprocity, wouldn’t this be the focus? In fact, this is not FATCA or CRS. It is plain and simple discrimination. If the U.S. continues making the U.S.an unwelcome place for immigrants, we may no longer have to listen to the nonsense that our leaving is irrelevant due to the much larger numbers of people clamoring to get into the United States of America.
Bank of America sent a customer a notice demanding details about their citizenship—and if they refused to answer, their accounts were promptly frozen.
Outside the United States, this is a normal practice. Dozens of countries have agreed to the Common Reporting Standard aimed at combating tax evasion, and began collecting citizenship information as part of that effort in 2017.
In the UK the banking industry has already been charged with collecting information on foreigners as part of a bigger plan to create a “hostile environment” for undocumented immigrants. Immigrants and advocates worry the United States could be next.
Under a separate law, foreign banks must collect citizenship information from Americans, ostensibly in order to track down potential tax-dodgers.
But domestically, they are not required to collect customer citizenship information.
Writing in The Hill, Gonzalez speculates that “some banks are more than willing to carry out Trump’s agenda of creating a system where immigrants have fewer economic rights than others.”
The American Bankers Association declined to comment on specific institutions’ policies, but said that “strict regulatory requirements” aimed at deterring illicit activities justify requests for personal information. “Banks of all sizes are required to collect a range of information about their customers to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 and ‘Know Your Customer’ standards,” says spokesperson Blair Bernstein. “Since 9/11, these strict regulatory requirements have steadily expanded.”
A pending class-action lawsuit filed with the US District Court of Northern California against Wells Fargo claims that the bank refused to accept applications for student loans and credit cards from DACA recipients, which plaintiffs claim is a form of illegal discrimination under California consumer-protection law, as well as a federal civil-rights law originally drafted to protect emancipated slave “aliens.”
This policy is far more subtle than a stark red line on a map, but could result in the same outcome, with a segment of Americans’ being systemically relegated to an underclass. Whether intentionally or not, citizenship questions may well push more immigrants further into the margins.