ACORN's Illegal Alien Home Loan Racket

Michelle Malkin

9/18/2009 12:01:00 AM - Michelle Malkin

There's one thing more shocking than the illegal alien smuggling advice that an ACORN official in San Diego gave undercover journalists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. It's the illegal alien home loan racket that ACORN has already been operating with the full knowledge of the U.S. government.

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On Wednesday, O'Keefe and Giles published the fifth in a series of BigGovernment.com sting videos. ACORN official Juan Carlos Vera coached the pimp-and-prostitute-posing pair on how best to pull off a border-busting smuggling operation. It would be "better from Tijuana," he counseled on videotape. Vera then generously offered the investigative couple his Mexican "contacts" to bring 12 illegal alien girls into the country for prostitution.

GOP California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger now wants an investigation. But neither the Terminator nor any other California public official raised a peep when the very same San Diego ACORN office publicly announced a partnership with Citibank to secure home loans for illegal aliens.

In 2005, Citibank and ACORN Housing Corporation -- which received tens of millions of tax dollars under the Bush administration alone -- began recruiting Mexican illegal aliens for a lucrative program offering loans with below-market interest rates, down-payment assistance and no mortgage insurance requirements. Instead of the Social Security numbers required of law-abiding citizens, the program allows illegal alien applicants to supply loosely monitored tax identification numbers issued by the IRS.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that "undocumented residents" comprise a vast market representing a potential sum of "$44 billion in mortgages." Citibank enlarged its portfolio of subprime and other risky loans. ACORN enlarged its membership rolls. The program now operates in Miami; New York City; Jersey City, N.J.; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Bridgeport, Conn.; and at all of ACORN Housing's 12 California offices. San Diego ACORN officials advised illegal alien recruits that their bank partners would take applicants who had little or no credit, or even "nontraditional records of credit, such as utility payments and documentation of private loan payments."

The risk the banks bear is the price they pay to keep ACORN protesters and Hispanic lobbyists from the National Council of La Raza screaming about "predatory lending" off their backs. These professional grievance-mongers have turned the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act -- which forced lenders to sacrifice underwriting standards for "diversity" -- into lucrative "business" opportunities. Or rather, politically correct blackmail.

As the Consumer Rights League noted in a 2008 report on the group's successful shakedowns of financial institutions, "an agreement with Citibank, a significant ACORN donor and partner, showed that some activists become less active when deals are in place."

In the wake of the sting videos, ACORN officials are making a great show of clamoring for "reform." ACORN chief executive Bertha Lewis blamed the debacles across the country on the "indefensible action of a handful of our employees." But the corruption is systemic. ACORN has long thrown rank-and-file operatives under the bus to cover for its management's indefensible conduct. And ACORN's highly touted advisory watchdogs include inherently conflicted foxes guarding the henhouse:

ACORN advisory council member Henry Cisneros resigned from his post as Clinton HUD Secretary after lying to FBI agents about payments to a former mistress.

ACORN advisory council member Andy Stern is president of the SEIU, the Big Labor organization plagued by embezzlement scandals and inextricably linked to ACORN's disgraced founder Wade Rathke.

And ACORN advisory council member Eric Eve of Citigroup is a champion of the ACORN/Citibank illegal alien loan program that openly undermines immigration laws and integrity in banking.

The truth is more sordid than any fictional scenarios caught on tape: ACORN is a corrupt enterprise.