20 March 2006
Cross the border, buy a house
There's a great deal of talk about how much illegal immigrants suck out of the US economy; there's rather a bit less about how much they put in. The Oklahoman has a piece this morning on mortgage loans made to the undocumented keyed to their Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers instead of the Social Security numbers they don't have.
In a sidebar, the head of a mortgage company who makes lots of such loans notes that it's not the easiest thing in the world to get one: typically, you have to have been here 10 years or more and must have filed tax returns for the past two years using your ITIN. And the interest rate is stiff: a local couple described in the article is paying 9.25 percent on a thirty-year fixed-rate loan, about three percentage points above the rate offered to more conventional customers with presumably better credit.
Still, these are people who would be solid citizens if they were, you know, citizens, and other than the standard "But they're here illegally!" complaint, I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't be allowed to buy a house. And if the INS can't enforce its own rules, they can hardly expect a bank to do it for them, especially when another branch of the government the FDIC expects that bank to make a substantial effort to serve low- and medium-income residents of its community.Posted at 10:48 AM to Common Cents