Lost Shoes – Stolen Credit
I can`t read the
news anymore…I gave up on
it many moons ago. I have a tendency to get angry and
throw things. Frankly I have several pairs of shoes
that consist of only one shoe as the other has never
been recovered from the
appliance at which it was hurled. It hurts the
This is the latest:
Banks Find Mortgage Clientele in Undocumented
Immigrants. by Katherine Reynolds Lewis, (email
her)March 15, 2005,Newhouse News Services
March 15, 2005
As if the headline
were not enough to incite a shoe toss, the introduction
"Dalila and William
Timal look like any other couple signing a home
mortgage. They`ve picked out paint colors for their new
four-bedroom house in Indianapolis and can`t wait for
their 18-month-old son to play in the yard.
But they differ in one
way from many others you`d see at a loan officer`s desk:
Neither is a
U.S. citizen or legal resident. The Timals came to
this country from Guatemala in the late `90s and
illegally overstayed their visas."
Aww, isn`t that
sweet? The ickle Timal family from
overstayed their visas—like, for ten years —and
lucky day; we`re letting them, although illegal aliens,
buy property (with
our money) in the United States.
Were there some
other immigrants who overstayed their visas…who was it
now…I think they had an affinity for
flying?? Oh yeah,
Mohammed Atta comes to mind! Think tall buildings,
no longer there, in
New York, ring a bell?
This is thanks to a
new program by Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank which
bases a mortgage on an individual taxpayer
identification number, or
ITIN. You know, rather than a Social Security
there are many
financial institutions which offer such loans.
According to the Newhouse article "just among the
nation`s roughly 6 million undocumented Latinos is a
potential $44 billion
market for homes, according to the National
Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals." [PDF]
overlook the fact that many households with an
undocumented immigrant also include a legal permanent
resident or U.S. citizen, frequently a
child who was born here"
Ok, there might be
a little law which prevents a minor
under the age of 18 from obtaining any sort of
credit line…I would imagine this includes
mortgage loans. [Not to mention I have a problem
with the whole
if you are born here then you are a citizen
"Everybody likes to
think of this as a dichotomy where you`re legal or
you`re illegal; it`s really a pipeline,"
"Today`s illegal immigrant is
tomorrow`s legal resident."
I would argue that
it is neither a dichotomy nor a pipeline. It is a
simple status: You are legally in the U.S. or
you are not.
President of FAIR (Federation
for American Immigration Reform) had a response to
Can I get an amen
for Mr. Dan?
Banks "ought to
be part of the solution in insuring that people who
apply for mortgages and conduct other business are here
legally," Stein said. "They went down the road of
fast buck in a way that is frankly, in our view,
inconsistent with the spirit of patriotism and federal
article exemplifies the illegal immigration problem in
"The growth of ITIN
mortgage programs is an example of how day-to-day life
in America has adapted to the reality of as many as
10 million undocumented immigrants. The IRS accepts
tax payments, employers
recruit them, and companies seek them out as
More benign, the
Newhouse article beams fondly on:
"…they have no legal
right to work or remain in the United States, and are
denied full benefits afforded to citizens. To buy homes,
many have used a borrowed or false Social Security
number, jeopardizing their legal right to the property.
Without access to the traditional banking system, they
have been easy targets for predatory lenders charging
What if the Timals
or one of these other illegal families turns out to be
terrorists? I am not suggesting that they are, but
consider the logical possibility. What then?
If they were to be
such persons, the above paragraph would become known as
Exhibit A in U.S. stupidity court.
used borrowed or
false social security numbers, jeopardizing their
legal right to property…
oh, please. Breaking the law by providing fraudulent
information would not be the trigger for deportation.
Illegally entering the country should be the punishable
Now that I have
vented a bit I feel better…Hell, no I don`t. However, I
do have an amusing anecdote to share about a family of
illegal aliens who bought a house in southern
It was a nice,
quiet neighborhood until a
family of 14, yes 14, moved in. Within two
weeks, they built a fence around their
front yard. A week later, they moved a couple of
goats and a plethora of
chickens into their fenced, front yard.
Believe it or not,
the residents could do very little because the
CC&R`s did not restrict farm animals (small numbers)
from property in the neighborhood. It was a
cultural difference. You see, it never occurred to
the author`s of the homeowner`s association that
language about prohibiting farm animals needed to be
included in the rules.
finally succeeded in ending the zoo by referencing a
rule which prevented front yard fencing. (And then
called Immigration and…)
It may not be an
accurate portrayal of all foreigners buying property in
the U.S. but it threw a little humor into an otherwise
Bryanna Bevens [email
her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff
for a member of the California State Assembly.
Quite apart from the moral aspect of the bending of
regulations to convenience
illegals, there is an
economic consequence too, which is adverse to many
native-born Americans. Property owners, builders, and
asset-seeking financial institutions may benefit: those
seeking to acquire shelter face more
higher costs. Typically
these are younger and less well off: so this is yet
another case of the regressive wealth redistribution of
uncontrolled immigration. And these lenders are not
angels either: the article Bryanna cites quotes a bank
explicitly saying the loans are attractive because, not
being easy to re sell, there is less competition to make
them and therefore higher rates can be charged.
Furthermore the ability of many of the borrowers to
service their loans (in cash, as the article naively
notes) stems from the notorious fact that many members
of these households are working
off the books and not
paying taxes. And they are shunting their medical costs
Emergency Rooms onto the
Health Insurance plans
of their native born neighbors.
These banks are accomplices to larceny.