Freedom Folks

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Is There Anything We Can Do To Make Your ILLEGAL Stay More Comfortable?


Lenders use looser credit rules to tap into illegal immigrants

Whether they need credit for a new couch or a mortgage for a home, undocumented immigrants are finding it increasingly easy to go into debt here.

Gone are the days when those who lacked a Social Security card had no chance of obtaining a loan. A recent liberalization among lending institutions means that those who are undocumented need not be unbanked.

Spanish-language radio stations carry ads for furniture on credit, with "no social" necessary. Banks, including Banco Popular and now Citibank, have started programs that allow illegal immigrants to buy homes by using an identifier issued by the IRS, known as the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

"It's kind of amazing, if you think about it," said Rob Paral, a research fellow for the Immigration Policy Center and a Chicago-based consultant. "You have banks that are explicitly marketing to illegal immigrants."

Paral completed a study for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals in which he found that 231,000 illegal immigrant households have sufficient income to buy homes, which would bring a maximum of $44 billion to the national housing market if they had easier access to mortgages. He did not estimate how many illegal immigrants own their homes, though other studies have found the number to be surprisingly high.

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