The American dream of home ownership, complete with the white picket fence, is alive and well for those who break our laws and break down our fences to get in.
Last week, The Washington Post published a rosy front-page tale headlined, "Illegal Immigrants Buy Into Homeowning Dream." The article detailed how illegal aliens in the Washington, D.C., area are successfully hooking up with cunning mortgage brokers and complicit lenders to secure home loans. Despite federal laws making it illegal to violate the borders, overstay visas, and recruit, harbor and encourage illegal aliens, the Post notes that the illegal alien home loan schemes are "legal."
Here we are, nearly two years after the September 11 terrorist attacks underscored the need for consistent immigration law enforcement, and the lesson continues to be ignored in the nation's capital.
The Post's heart-warming story began:
"Gerardo Cabrera fell in love with the house immediately. There was the bay window in the living room, the fireplace in the den, and -- most enchanting to a man raised amid the concrete of Mexico City -- the woods in the back yard. And so the auto mechanic and his wife, a secretary, decided to pay $200,000 for their own piece of suburban Gaithersburg, a classic tale of immigrants achieving the American dream. Except for one detail: At the time, they were in the United States illegally."
While law-abiding homebuyers must supply airtight proof of identity, legal residence and a Social Security number to lenders, illegal alien purchasers such as Cabrera (a visa overstayer who recently received a green card) need only supply a "taxpayer identification number" (TIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service. No criminal background check is required before applying for a TIN, which many banks now accept from illegal alien customers as a primary form of identification.
Cabrera's broker, Alma Preciado of Metropolitan Financial Services in Silver Spring, told the Post that about 10 percent of her mainly Latino clientele qualify for home loans using a TIN instead of a Social Security number.
That's just the tip of the illegal alien homeowners' iceberg. The Post failed to note that Federal Housing Administration-approved loans through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development do not require lenders to obtain proof of citizenship or legal permanent residence. These FHA/HUD programs, primarily targeting minorities and first-time homebuyers, are federally insured and require minimal down payments.