Thursday, October 23, 2008
Why is Wells Fargo Flirting with Anti-Immigrant Extremists? By Eric Ward
Respected business leader Wayne Calloway once remarked that “[n]othing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map”. Over the last several years it appears that Wells Fargo has not only embraced Calloway’s insight but taken it a step further by putting the enemy right inside its very own bedroom.
For several years nativists under the guise of “immigration reform” have waged endless attacks against Wells Fargo, even going so far as to create web pages such as Embargo Wells Fargo. Having declared a racial war against our nation’s immigrant and refugee communities, anti-immigrant organizations and leaders targeted Wells Fargo as part of their growing “war of attrition”. In short, make life a living hell for immigrants and anyone else who defends their inalienable rights to simply be treated like a human being. The anti-immigrant movement is demanding that Wells Fargo choose sides between community and barbarism.
However, Wells Fargo appears to have done the opposite. Rather than taking responsibility as a community leader and drawing a clear moral barrier against hate, Wells Fargo instead chooses to lend its indirect support to the anti-immigrant movement itself. According to the Center for New Community during the 2005-2006 election cycle the Wells Fargo and Company Employee PAC made fifty-eight contributions totaling $108,250 to members of the House Immigration Reform Caucus (HIRC).
Created by the infamous nativist Tom Tancredo who led attacks against Wells Fargo, HIRC represents one of the most entrenched threats to American pluralism today.” Members of HIRC have introduced some of the most punitive legislation proposed during the last two House sessions. The current head of HIRC is Congressman Brian Bilbray of California the former lobbyist of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). FAIR was recently named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Other groups designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center include the Ku Klux Klan and the American National Socialist Workers Party. Ironically in 2007, Bilbray went on to co-sponsor anti-immigrant legislation that directly targeted the banking industry, including Wells Fargo.
Having been attacked by everyone from Lou Dobbs to Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) President Dan Stein, one would think that Wells Fargo would understand firsthand the impact that the bigotry of the anti-immigrant movement is having on local communities and Wells Fargo customers. In Arizona, anti-immigrant activists have literally destroyed the economy of Arizona in their attempt to divide the state and the families that live there.
Sadly Wells Fargo’s indirect support doesn’t end in the Nation’s beltway but to the streets of Arizona itself. In Arizona far away from the eyes of the nation, xenophobes have waged a relentless war against the immigrant community. Not simply satisfied with the harassment of Latino communities at the hands of armed vigilantes, Maricopa County Sherriff Joe Arpaio joined the fray, terrorizing citizens and non-citizens so much that the U.S. Department of Justice has an open investigation into his activities. Arpaio does this from space leased from Wells Fargo.
On Monday, October 27, 2008, Arizona has called for a national day of action against Wells Fargo. The demand is simple, they are asking that Wells Fargo stop housing and profiting from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s attempt to terrorize the Latino community of Arizona. Whatever your views on immigration policy, it’s hard not to be disturbed by Wells Fargo’s support of groups that seek to slam the door on America’s historic commitment to inclusion and opportunity.
Fortunately for our nation, Americans of all stripes have stood up to defend a historic commitment to unity, hard work, and rights. Organize a lunch time vigil at your local Wells Fargo. Call or email Wells Fargo. Tell Wells Fargo that its voice is necessary to pull the debate on immigration back from the intolerant fringes.
It’s time for Wells Fargo to send Arpaio packing. Click Here: