New Legislation Would Tax Wire Transfers, Penalizing Illegal Immigrants

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In a bid to tackle illegal immigration in the United States, new proposed federal legislation would place a tax on person-to-person wire transfers.

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Per a Fox News report, the WIRED (Withholding Illegal Revenue Entering Drug Markets) Act, introduced by Representative Kevin Hern (R-OK) would ostensibly "discourage illegal immigration and combat cartel activity at the border."

The legislation would place a 5% tax on international wire transfers sent from one individual to another. U.S. citizens and legal residents could claim any incurred fees as tax credits, so only illegal immigrants would theoretically be paying the remittance fee.

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Whether or not this would actually work in practice, however, remains to be seen. It is worth noting that wire transfers are commonly used by those who wish to send money back to family members in Central American and South American nations.

Fox shared that "The World Bank estimated that in 2021, approximately $74.5 billion left the U.S. in remittances."

Hern's home state of Oklahoma has implemented similar legislation, which has raised approximately $12 million a year for border protection, according to one NPR report.

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Fox shared details about how the money raised from this new tax would be used:

The money would go to a Border Enforcement Trust Fund, which would be used to employ additional Border Patrol agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) staff, and would also fund construction of border barriers and detention facilities.

Hern, who has long supported the idea of remittance taxes, stated:

"This new remittance fee is a financial weapon we can use to target illicit activity funneling money from the US to the cartels while simultaneously supporting our agents down at the border. It’s a small step, but it brings us closer to securing the border and deterring illegal activity."

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Opponents of the bill say that it would potentially cause financial hardship for legal immigrants on tight budgets who would not see an immediate return on their additional expenditures.

It is not known when the WIRED Act will go up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

What do you think about the WIRED Act?

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