Bokhari: On Immigration, Guns, and Speech, Banks Act as a Shadow Government

US banks eyeing trade spat as earnings rise

JPMorgan Chase announced earlier this month that it would stop doing business with private prisons, following pressure from Democrats and progressive activists who know that the private prison sector provides key services to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The decision by JPMorgan is the latest in an increasingly popular tactic by the far left, which is to use the private sector to achieve policy objectives that would be politically or constitutionally impossible if attempted via government.

It also followed a similar decision by Wells Fargo in January, which said it would reduce its business relationships with private prisons as part of its “environmental and social risk management.”

Thanks to a craven corporate sector that allows itself to be led by a vocal minority of activists, the ability of ICE to do its job has suffered a significant blow, despite there being no democratic mandate for undermining the agency’s efforts to curb illegal immigration. Even a majority of Democrat voters oppose the far-left plot to abolish ICE – but if democracy mattered to the far-left, they wouldn’t be using unelected corporations to implement policy in the first place.

As Breitbart Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak wrote in a recent column, socialist Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is trying to pull off a similar trick with environmental policy, using her political bully pulpit to pressure banks into abandoning investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline. Despite having support from the region’s elected representatives – including former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat – far-left politicians representing districts hundreds of miles away from the pipeline once again want to use corporations to override democracy.

It’s a similar story with guns. Unable to rid America of its pesky second amendment, the left have instead heaped pressure on big banks to make it impossible for firearms businesses to operate. Last year saw a surge of crackdowns by financial services against the gun industry: Citibank said it would not do business with companies that sell “high capacity magazines,” while Bank of America said it would cut ties with gun stores that sell “AR-style” weapons. The online payment processor Stripe, already known for financially blacklisting right-wingers, doesn’t process payments for any kind of gun business. Only Wells Fargo has refused to join the trend, correctly stating that it is not a bank’s job to set U.S. firearms policy. 

Then, of course, there’s free speech. For independent and right-wing journalists and activists, financial blacklisting is on the rise. Not content with pressuring social media platforms to censor their opponents, progressives want banks, credit cards, online funding platforms and payment processors to cut off their livelihoods as well. Over the past two years, many of these companies have caved in — credit cards have withdrawn service from critics of Islam like Robert Spencer, while online funding platforms like Patreon have removed independent commentators like Carl Benjamin and journalists like Lauren Southern. More recently, Chase Bank was accused of withdrawing service from its customers for political reasons, although a company spokesman insisted its reasons were politically neutral.

Whether it’s gun policy, immigration, energy or censorship, the left has found a method of imposing its will that’s far more efficient than dealing with the American system of government, designed as it was to contain the worst impulses of political radicals. Sick of these constitutional inconveniences, the far-left now intend to enact tyranny through the politically-motivated harassment of the private sector — and the private sector is seeming only too happy to oblige. Can conservatives be awakened from their laissez-faire, free market stupor in time to stop it?

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to


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