[Editor’s note: hard copy of below letter was hand delivered to the Secretary of the Georgia senate office Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006 – hyperlinks added to online version to educate the reader]
February 9, 2006
The Dustin Inman Society
3595 Canton Rd. A-9/337
Marietta, Georgia 30066
Mr. Bob Ewing [ Bob.Ewing@senate.ga.gov ]
Interim Secretary of the Georgia Senate
353 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Dear Mr. Ewing,
I write on a matter of senate business, but first want to extend my sincere sympathy for the loss of Mr. Frank Eldridge. Mr. Eldridge and his positive contributions to government in the state of Georgia will be missed by many.
Citing section 1-4.3 of the Rules of the Georgia State Senate dealing with conflict of interest, I am hereby requesting that the senator from the 36th district, Sam Zamarripa, be prohibited from voting on any pending or future legislation regarding illegal immigration in the current legislative session.
It is a matter of public record that senator Zamarripa is a founding partner of a Georgia – based, federally chartered bank, United Americas Bank [aka Banco Unido], where he also holds the position of Director of Marketing.
It is also a matter of public record that United Americas Bank is currently active in soliciting and accepting business from, and making mortgage loans to, persons it and Senator Zamarrpia know to be present in the United States illegally.
United States Code, Title 8, section 1324 is clear on the fact that harboring or encouraging an illegal alien to remain in the U.S. is a federal crime. Further, the same federal code includes language that increases penalties for doing so with the intent to profit commercially.
I am sure that any reasonable person would agree that extending a mortgage loan to anyone represents encouragement to remain in our state and nation. “Harboring” includes any conduct that tends to substantially help an illegal alien to remain in the United States in violation of existing law. [ U.S. v Kim, 193 F.3d 567, 574, (2nd Cir. 1999); U.S. v Pong Sub Shin, No 98-1142,1999 U.S. App.LEXIS 902 (2d Cir. unpub. 1999) ]
The senator from the 36th has a vested financial interest in the operations and profits of United Americas Bank and because of its practice of doing business with known illegal aliens, a resulting financial interest in their continued presence in Georgia and the United States.
It is my contention that this association represents a conflict of interest regarding any and all legislation that may be considered in the Georgia Senate aimed at people who; employ or transport an illegal alien, have illegally overstayed an entry visa, entered our nation illegally, obtained employment here illegally, or been able to remain here illegally due to the unwillingness of our government to locate and remove them.
Criminal liability for harboring or sheltering an illegal alien could arise from acceptance of a Mexican matricula consular – which, presented without valid documentation of legal immigration status is prima facie evidence of illegal status. United Americas Bank accepts the Mexican matricula consular as valid photo ID when opening an account.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper has quoted the president of United Americas Bank, Mr. Jorge Forment, as confirming that he counts illegal aliens as a substantial part of that bank’s business.[ “Immigrants latch on to tax ID numbers – Undocumented workers able to obtain home loans” AJC 10/12/04 Rebecca McCarthy.]
It should be noted that by federal definition, “immigrants” enter our nation lawfully. The AJC story clearly refers to persons present in the U.S. in violation of existing law.
I include with this letter, copies of mortgage loan applications obtained from United Americas Bank. Also, a copy of the federal code cited above and the AJC report.
You will find that state Senator Zamarripa does not deny the practice of profiting from illegal immigration.
As legislation that will have an effect on the illegal aliens and those who employ and otherwise do business with that group is now pending in the senate, I respectfully request your timely consideration of my request and a reply as to your decision.
As someone who studies the illegal immigration crisis in our state and nation, I will be happy to answer any questions and to provide your office with references to additional information.
Again, it is my educated opinion that Senator Zamarripa’s close association with United Americas Bank represents a conflict of interest concerning his official action regarding pending legislation focused on illegal immigration – and that his impartial official judgment could be compromised.