Am I an Immigrant?

The problem with MoneyGram’s questions has been resolved.
They told me yesterday that up until Saturday it had been their policy,
to ask whether people were born in the USA but that the policy had
changed on Monday to simply showing an ID (which you always had
to do).

So good resolution on this issue, and thank everyone who acted.

For Historical Record:

Ever since Trump has been elected, every time I go to ______ now to receive money, I’m asked whether I was born in the U.S. in other words, am I an immigrant?

Many times, when I refuse to answer that question, they deny me funds. I object to this question and their soliciting information for the government so much, that I am willing to take my business somewhere else. To be fair, sometimes I am given the money in spite of my refusal to answer the question. But I have stopped shopping at one store where the person behind the counter enforced her Stazi-like right of refusal when the funds were needed for a medical emergency. Give me information or die. It hurt me. It hurts the company. It is bad for the environment because I have to drive further to find other options.

They should wake up and change their policies before it becomes a national trend.

Update: Another attempt to address this issues with management at the store. i.e. train their employees to engage in civil disobedience. The problem apparently is with MoneyGram – so the companies, claim, that although their employees provide the interaction with Moneygram that their company is separate from Moneygram. I argued back that the store should stand up for their customers. Might it prevent some fraud to have everything about everyone disclosed? Possibly. But it is not worth the price.

To be fair, it is not like undocumented people are living high off the hog. We are talking about basic necessities and medical care. So are we willing to declare as fraudulent any attempt to satisfy these basic needs when some people in this country have already declared people to be “fraudulent” or illegal, and therefore unable to participate in the economy? Someone should actually do the math and calculate what the value of “documented” or “legal status” is in a society.  Anyone who has ever been a refugee understands this. Undocumented people are not terrorists, criminals, or thieves. The fact that some do become these (in a lower percentage in fact than people in the native population – probably because their feeling of entitlement is less) is simply a reflection of natural social forces that exist in the native population. When there exist some people in the lowest class of legal people that are swayed toward these means as a way of accomplishing something, it is probable that they will use their influence on these vulnerable people to influence them similarly. The fact that so many of these vulnerable people do not participate in these activities is a testament to what they are willing to endure.  I, for one, am not willing to say that the billionaires of the world get to declare what the rules are to the point of depriving people of basic necessities.  They have a credibility problem here.

We need grey – the right for people to think critically, and for themselves, about government, laws, and the people around them.  And we need the value of the interpersonal business transaction – that where the business and the customer actually have a relationship that is courteous and community-forming and where the government camera does not drive people underground where these community relationships are not possible.

So, now the difficult process has to begin of extricating myself from all businesses that use their employees to acquire funds for people through Moneygram as long as they continue this practice. Most of the big pharmaceuticals do, so I am going to have to transfer my prescriptions to a pharmacy that is a small Mom and Pop store that does not do financial transactions through Monegram (and probably any other service since they are likely the biggest).

Can you imagine being asked: Are you Black or White in order to receive money, are you Jewish or Muslim or Christian in order to receive money? Are you gay or straight or transgender to receive money?  Most stores would not allow their employees to participate in acquiring funds for people based on these questions.

2/12: I went to the ACLU action on this issue: as stated here:

I really like their idea at the end of the page asking businesses who support immigrants to post signs on their doors and property saying: “We Welcome Immigrants and Refugees”.  Interestingly, some of the stores that do use MoneyGram to get funds are generally very supportive of immigrants, they just don’t recognize the extent of their complicity in MoneyGram’s policy by training their employees to participate in this question and refuse money to anyone who won’t answer the question.  Ideally, this problem should be quickly resolved, MoneyGram should change its policy, and business should resume as usual. Keep trying, talk to the managers, explain your point of view, and walk away if the policy is still in place.

Another thought on this…Jesus, was crucified on a cross with the thieves. Not above them. With them. Do I think property laws help people to get along? Yes. Do they apply when people have already decided not to get along? Yes. Do they apply when people aren’t getting along and the more powerful party is excluding the other party from a voice in the decision about the definition of the value of property? I’ll leave that one to individual discretion about what’s fair.

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