May 25, 2017 12:58 PM PST
SINCE 2007

Some Pinoys not affected by Donald Trump’s scheme for remittances to fund border wall

By Anna Ven Sobrevinas

SAN DIEGO -- Presidential candidate and billionaire Donald Trump proposed a wall about 2,000 miles long, spanning the Mexican border to keep out illegal crossings.

He posted recently a new way to pay for the wall. For Mexico to “make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year.” Otherwise, under Section 326 of the Patriot Act, remittance centers such as Western Union would have to require proof of legal status before senders can remit money to Mexico.

In a Pinoy Panawagan segment on Balitang America, lawyer Lou Tancinco said Trump’s foolish proposal will have a ripple effect and affect all immigrants sending money abroad.

“There’s also a human rights issue here as it will affect welfare and support for families,” said Tancinco. “To require remittance centers or banks to inquire into legal status from the person sending money may not all be legally feasible.”

In San Diego, an elder lady from National City said, it wouldn’t really affect Filipinos. In her words, “we had to swim a long way.” She refused to give her name and photo taken.

Retired US Navy Romeo Alimbuyao said Filipino-Americans are separate.

“We shouldn’t get involved with that because we are U.S. citizens,” said Alimbuyao. “Overseas Filipino workers are obligated to remit some of their salaries back to the Philippines.”

81-year-old Nestor (not his real name), a retired mechanical engineer from the Philippines, has been sending money back home for seven years.

“If it is for the undocumented, there is no question about it,” said Nestor. “We do not know where they get the money (to remit) or if it (was acquired through) illegal (means).”

Trump’s memo also proposed trade tariffs, cancelling visas and increasing visa fees to fund the wall.

Some think meddling with remittances is no solution at all.

“I’m not in favor of Mr. Trump’s proposal because he wants to (ensure) legal immigration,” said Grace Meneses, a registered nurse. “I don’t think (providing proof of legal status before a sender can remit money abroad) serves the purpose. It will only create hardship for the families of those sending money.”

Musician Alexis O., 23, sends money to the Philippines monthly for his three-year-old daughter.

“What difference does it make for us if Trump decides to block all remittances coming from undocumented people,” said Alexis. “I think these so-called ‘plans’ by Trump are way out of hand.”

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, remittances from the US last year totaled $10,114,359.