We are a nation divided and in dismay. Even TV writers can’t contrive plots as contorted as what is happening in front of us. The Obama administration created DACA in 2012 frustrated with the failure of Congress to come to any resolution repairing our broken immigration system. The program gives temporary permits to children brought here from outside the country illegally.
800,000 Dreamers signed up for the permits, and their lives are in the balance. You might not think that it affects you, but it does. There is misinformation and ignorance about immigration. Every single one of them has gone through extensive background and security checks. All are in school, or graduated, no one gets free education or housing.
You must have an idea of how and why people risk their lives to cross the border. They aren’t on their way to Disneyland. Can you imagine for just a moment that your family not only is penniless, but in danger from government, cartels, and gangs? Can you imagine that your wages are $300 a month to feed, clothe, and send your kids to school? What if you’re so poor that you put your children up for adoption with the hopes that someone will give them a better life?
The US needs able bodied workers in trades that are dying. Who is filling the jobs that you take for granted? How many blonde Minnesotans do you see working on rooftops at dawn? Construction workers are in a shortage, roofers, plumbers, dry wallers, landscapers, carpenters are facing extinction if a new generation isn’t groomed to replace them. Seasonal farmers depend on immigrants to plant and harvest crops. Hotels will close, and the US economy will be hit with price hikes because employers need to find and train replacements. It is always the new wave of immigrants who fill these positions going way back to indentured servants in Colonial times.
What you might not know is that our government issues ITIN numbers, (Individual Tax Identification Number) to undocumented workers to pay taxes. They receive no benefit, but do pay taxes. The IRS has no incentive to rewrite that rule. Intake versus zero benefit = a lot of profit. There is the rumor that immigrants don’t pay taxes. That’s false. I lived in South American for over 8 years, and worked with the Latino community for over 20. They have two and three jobs to make ends meet, everyone works, and they pay their taxes.
The other thing that’s important to know is when a family has someone legalized, and has a job, they put their hopes in that person to buy a home for the family. They all work together, pool their cash and resources to make it happen. There is only one loan that I know of for people with an ITIN, it requires 30% down payment with an interest rate of 7.75%.
The 800,000 Dreamers want to work, go to school, and buy a home legally. What is surprising is that Latinos become Americanized in one generation. Many of them don’t speak Spanish, or know the country their parents came from. They aren’t eligible for college loans without permits, and are relegated to jobs that only require a high school education. All of their families are placing their hopes that the Dreamers will lead the way to the American Dream.
What real estate brokers need to consider is that 800,000 are Millennial that impact the housing market, and the economy if they are allowed to hold decent paying jobs. During the boom I saw bad loans sold to immigrants with ‘you can always refinance later. ’The later,’ was when those loans adjusted to 10.5% interest and they lost their home. Renters have no investment in a community, they are marginalized. Homeowners have a high level of investment in their communities, and become integrated into society by having that investment. The impact that immigration has on real estate goes beyond the Dreamers to the millions of undocumented workers from all over the world. Why doesn’t NAR, NAHREP, and brokerages throughout the country demand that our politicians stop poking each other in the eye, and do some real work? Between golf games and cocktail parties, they could reform immigration, and bring millions of people out of the shadows.