….but what about the US economy?
Every article I see on the subject of remittances casts the practice in glowing terms—isn’t it great we are told, the immigrants work hard to send money to their family members back home. But, doesn’t that have a negative impact on the US economy? That money isn’t being spent here when it’s sent to El Salvador or Somalia or wherever, therefore its not generating new jobs, right? (Remember Obama is supposedly trying to put more money into circulation to stimulate spending!).
Recently, doing research on the Sanctuary Movement, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the large number of Salvadorans in and around Washington, DC, I came across a piece in the New York Times where Pres. George Bush was positively gleeful to extend TPS for Salvadorans here illegally so they could continue to send money to El Salvador and thus prop up that economy. Ten years later we are still extending TPS so we can support El Salvador.
Now I see Somalis working abroad are sending a billion dollars a year back to Africa. But, American banks want nothing to do with making sure the money doesn’t end up in the hands of terrorists.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
Thousands of Columbus Somalis send millions of dollars home each year to family members struggling to survive after two decades of bloodshed.
But banks in Ohio want no part of that business.
Banks, including Huntington National Bank, Key Bank and PNC, do not accept accounts from companies that electronically transmit money to Somalia, fearing that the money could end up in the hands of terrorists.
That upsets Hersi Suleiman, the Chicago-based regional manager of Amal USA, a money-transfer company that has outlets in Columbus and electronically transmits $3 million a year from Columbus to Somalia.
Worldwide, the Somali diaspora sends $1 billion home each year, he said.
And, you can bet that much of this money is being sent through illegal money transfer (is that what is going on in the backrooms of all those little Somali shops popping up everywhere?).
Many Somalis pulled their money out of local banks after they stopped dealing with money transmitters, Tiberi said.
Until there is a fix, Levine, the D.C. lawyer, said some people might turn to illicit, unlicensed money transmitters.
“Underground transmitters threaten the security of the United States,” he said.
Read it all and think about it—more immigrants employed and sending money abroad means the money isn’t spent at the local appliance dealer or other local retailers.