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Senate Republicans target banks refusing services to ICE contractors

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans have introduced a bill targeting banks that refuse to offer depository services to contractors that operate facilities on behalf of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

The Financial Defense for Industrial Contractors Act, or FDIC Act, would remove FDIC insurance from banks with assets over $50 billion that refuse to provide banking services to firms with an active federal contract and are otherwise creditworthy and law-abiding. The legislation is co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

“Banks have a right to deny funds to certain businesses, but they shouldn’t enjoy taxpayer-provided guarantees if they are undermining the public policy of the United States," said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“Banks have a right to deny funds to certain businesses, but they shouldn’t enjoy taxpayer-provided guarantees if they are undermining the public policy of the United States," said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

“Some of our nation’s largest banks have decided to cater to the radical left’s ‘woke’ agenda by abusing their systemic influence in our economy to deprive law-abiding federal contractors of banking services critical to their business,” Rubio said. “Banks have a right to deny funds to certain businesses, but they shouldn’t enjoy taxpayer-provided guarantees if they are undermining the public policy of the United States.”

The bill is in response to six big banks’ decision to stop offering depository services to contractors that operate facilities on behalf of ICE. Those banks are Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Barclays and SunTrust.

“The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency employs contractors to help enforce the immigration laws that keep Americans safe,” Cotton said. “By denying critical financial services to ICE contractors, big banks have hobbled ICE’s efforts to protect Americans. These banks shouldn’t receive public funding if they’re putting the public at risk.”

Republican senators have introduced similar legislation in response to certain banks’ refusal to provide financial services to certain firearms firms. Cramer and Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., introduced a bill in March 2019 that would ban banks from denying service to certain constitutionally protected industries, such as firearms.

While Republicans control the Senate, neither bill is likely to make headway in the Democratic-controlled House. Several Democratic lawmakers have lauded banks that have cut ties with firearms firms and private prisons.

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