The Mexican House of Representatives recently unanimously passed a resolution denouncing U.S. states that impose remittance taxes and called upon the Mexican government to take trade measures against those states. Such trade measures would be imposed in states like Oklahoma and Kansas as a way to respond and retaliate against this category of tax laws.
Mexican Legislators consider recently passed legislation in Oklahoma to be an “immoral, abusive and harmful” act against immigrants´ rights, according to the resolution sponsored by Congressman Ildefonso Guajardo (PRI-Nuevo Leon). The full text of the resolution, translated from Spanish, follows this story.
In response to the Mexican government’s efforts, Oklahoma State Rep. Randy Terrill called for imposing “much tougher sanctions on illegal aliens.”
“This represents an attempt by a foreign nation to interfere with the sovereign actions of a U.S. state,” said Terrill, (R-Moore). “We clearly not only have the right, but the responsibility to legislate for the public health, safety, morals and welfare of our citizens – not theirs.
“The Mexican government should know that the people of Oklahoma will not be bullied or intimidated by anyone, anywhere.”
The resolution calls on the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry to ask Oklahoma Gov, Brad Henry to eliminate the fee (which he does not unilaterally have the authority to do) and urges the Mexican Government to suspend all of its purchases of products originating in Oklahoma.
Last year, Oklahoma lawmakers voted to assess a 1-percent fee on funds wired out of state. Revenue collected from the fee is deposited in a “Drug Money Laundering and Wire Transmitter Revolving Fund.”
The fee does not single out any one group of individuals.
Terrill noted the proposed sanctions on Oklahoma appear to be a violation of the NAFTA agreement that could result in U.S. countermeasures on Mexico as provided under the NAFTA accords, and that Oklahoma lawmakers also have the ability to respond at the state level.
“If they want to talk about trade sanctions, then they need to first start by cutting off all the dope coming into Oklahoma from Mexico and the disaster of Mexican citizens who are being pushed into Oklahoma by the shamefully dysfunctional Mexican government, where they are draining tax dollars in the areas of health care, education, welfare and corrections,” Terrill said.
On a daily basis, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics investigates cell groups tied to some of the most powerful drug cartels in Mexico. Annually, millions of dollars in illegal drugs are coming into Oklahoma from these Mexican cartels for nationwide distribution, and millions of dollars in illegal drug proceeds are smuggled or wired back to the Mexican bank accounts of drug traffickers. Law-abiding citizens are not negatively impacted by The Wire Transfer Fee. These individuals are able to redeem the fee on their income taxes” said Darrell Weaver, director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
“A huge share of the drug problem in Oklahoma is clearly tied to narcotics exported from Mexico along the I-35 corridor,” Terrill said.
He said Oklahoma lawmakers would be fully justified under international law to respond to the Mexican government’s provocations with improved countermeasures against drug and alien smuggling from Mexican states.
“If they really want to pick this fight with Oklahoma, then I will be happy to immediately introduce or amend legislation calling for the state’s current asset-seizure and drug-forfeiture laws to be extended to all immigration-related offenses,” Terrill said. “I’d also like to have good cause to advance legislation denying state-issued birth certificates to children born to illegal-alien parents. And we should restrict the actions of Mexican Consulars in Oklahoma who often assist illegal aliens attempting to establish permanent residence and find employment in the United States.
“I do however, urge the Mexican Congress to support a labor “boycott” of Oklahoma by investing in sustainable job creation at home,” added Terrill. “I will encourage our in-state development experts to assist them. It will help improve the employment rate for U.S. citizens and law-abiding immigrants during this national recession.”
MEXICAN CONGRESS URGES MEXICAN GOVERNMENT TO RESPOND AND RETALIATE AGAINST THE IMMORAL, ABUSIVE AND HARMFUL REMITTANCE FEE VIOLATING THE RIGHTS OF IMMIGRANTS IN OKLAHOMA. The Mexican House of Representatives has called upon the Mexican Government to establish trade measures against US states that have adopted a fee to remittances being sent to Mexico. Such trade measures would be imposed in states like Oklahoma as a way to respond and retaliate against this new law. Mexican Legislators consider this bill as “immoral, abusive and harmful” act against immigrants´ rights.
With the vote of the seven political parties represented in Congress, the House of Representatives unanimously approved a Resolution introduced by the Chairman of the Economic Committee, Ildefonso Guajardo (PRI-Nuevo Leon), by which:
1. Congress demands the Mexican Government to present a formal complaint before the US Government on the imposition of this new fee in states such as Oklahoma.
2. Congress requests the Foreign Affairs Ministry to ask for the mediation of the Governor of Oklahoma to eliminate the fee.
3. Congress calls upon the Mexican Government to suspend all of its purchases of products originating in Oklahoma and those from other states currently legislating such law proposals like Kansas.
At the very end of the 2009 legislative session, a wire transmitter fee was amended into the "Drug Money Laundering and Wire Transmitter Act." Effective July 1, 2009, registered money transmitters began collecting a 1% fee, minimum of $5.00, on all wire transfers initiated in Oklahoma. Banks and credit unions that offer similar wire transfer services are exempt from collecting this fee. Revenue collected from the wire transmitter fee is allocated to the "Drug Money Laundering and Wire Transmitter Revolving Fund”; an insulting measure linking immigration with drug trafficking.
The call to suspend any governmental purchase of Oklahoma products may affect the bilateral trade relationship between that state and Mexico which has a current value of above $1.1 billion dollars. Oklahoma exports to Mexico are worth $527 million dollars, mostly manufactures related to the oil industry, which in Mexico is basically owned by the state.
In addition, in prepared remarks, Congressman Guajardo mentioned that another state that could be subject to the same retaliatory actions is Kansas. The Committee Chair for the House Taxation Committee of Kansas, Republican Richard Carlson, has introduced recently a bill to impose a tax on money transfers. This bill would require money transmitters to collect $5.00 on each transmission and 2% of a transaction that exceeds $500.