Bailout doesn’t account for illegal immigrants’ loans

    Back to normal? As soon as Washington moved to hand over billions of taxpayer dollars to the socialist tycoons of Wall Street, Wells Fargo moved to buy struggling Wachovia Bank, but was hamstrung from doing so by New York State Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos.

    Justice Ramos initiated the action, because Citigroup Inc. accused Wells Fargo of trying to cut off its earlier takeover offer of Wachovia’s banking operations for $2.1 billion in a deal struck with the assistance of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

    Wells Fargo & Co. had agreed to purchase Wachovia Bank for $14.8 billion.

    Not more than 48 hours passed after Congress signed-off on the bailout, and already the greed in Wall Street was back in action. Now that taxpayer dollars are rolling into the heart of corporate America’s financial artery, there’s money to burn buying up banks and fighting in court to engage in hostile buyouts.

    Is this what America’s $700 billion bailout supposed to do? Subsidize corporate takeovers?

    I’m not sure what chief executive officers of these big banks think is going on; they have to know that our economy is not out of the woods yet.

    The short-term fix President George W. Bush and his Wall Street base asked for is no tourniquet to the revenue hemorrhaging our economy is dealing with. Like a sucking chest wound, the bleeding has yet to stop, and unless that happens our economic system is going to expire.

    Our credit system is about to take a major hit if amnesty for the millions of undocumented who have taken out mortgages, car loans, credit card loans and other types of loans over the past decade is not enacted.

    According to the report, "Trends in Unauthorized Immigration: Undocumented Inflow Now Trails Legal Inflow", by the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington think tank, illegal immigrants entering the United States has slowed significantly because of the nation’s struggling economy and stepped-up enforcement of immigration laws.

    "The decline in job prospects in construction, service and other low-skilled jobs are communicated through extended networks of would-be movers from Mexico and Latin America," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, another Washington think tank. "It also may propel more return migration."

    Indeed, return migration of many of those very undocumented people who throughout the 1990s and for the better part of this decade, secured loans to buy a home using government agencies, such as the Wisconsin housing authority, which helped to finance home loans as long as the undocumented produced identification cards issued by the Internal Revenue Service known as the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN.

    Banks and other financial companies (most in the subprime market) targeted undocumented immigrants who were able to get help from government agencies, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC). The FDIC gave the green light to many banks to do business with underserved markets regardless of the customers’ immigration status.

    Many researchers, including the federal government, estimate there are about 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.

    The Pew report says that the average of undocumented entering the country has dropped from 800,000 to about 500,000 a year ago.

    While those advocating border security see this as a good thing, on the economic side of the immigration debate, this could also mean that undocumented population with mortgages, car notes etc., are leaving the country because of the stepped-up law enforcement actions against immigrants; thus, leaving the taxpayer with paying for those bad loans.

    Recently, Paul Taylor, chief economist with the National Automobile Dealers Association, said that car dealership closures shot up in September. He expects that 500 to 600 of the group’s 20,770 dealerships will shut their doors this year, up from previous estimates he had of 300 to 400.  Bad loans are ruining car dealerships.

    No amnesty means more bailouts.

    The Pew Hispanic Center released another study in September this year indicating that Latinos in the United States thought they were worse off than they were a year ago.

    The nationwide survey asked over 2,000 adult Latinos how they felt about things in the United States. The survey reported that 63 percent of "Latino immigrants say that the situation of Latinos has worsened over the past year. In 2007, just 42 percent of all adult Hispanic immigrants – and just 33 percent of all Hispanic adults – said the same thing," the study reports.

    This is significant because it provides us with the argument that as attacks against the immigrant community continue, our economy will continue to experience problems, and no amount of money poured into the problem will do any good as long as return migration continues by those undocumented immigrants who have loans.

    Until the undocumented are given amnesty status, economic instability will get worse.


    Robert Miranda is Latino community activist and editor-in-chief of the Milwaukee Spanish Journal. He also is executive director of Esperanza Unida Inc.

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