Wire firm a force in debate over immigration

Mar. 19, 2006 12:00 AM MEXICO

– Every two weeks, Nayeli Toxqui pushes her baby stroller down
Insurgentes Avenue, past the whizzing taxis and the wheezing buses, and
joins a line of people near a yellow-and-black Western Union sign.

“I’m picking up money from my husband in Chicago,” she said one recent
morning, peering at the cashier’s booth dispensing money at the back of
the Elektra appliance store. “I don’t work, so you could say I depend
on la Western.”

So do millions of other families and their migrant relatives. And in
turn, Western Union depends on them, as it rides a 10-year wave of
immigration to record-high profits.

So perhaps it is no surprise that the world’s biggest money-transfer
company and its parent firm, First Data Corp., are quietly becoming a
force in the debate over illegal immigration and border security.

In recent years, Denver-based First Data has openly campaigned for
immigration reform, which could legalize millions of undocumented
workers, and has created a $10 million “Empowerment Fund” for the same

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