Could Immigration Reform Help Housing?

By: Daniel Nardini

                              Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary U.S. President Barack Obama, in a desperate bid to try and get stalled immigration reform legislation through the U.S. House of Representatives, stated that helping undocumented who qualify for legal residence may help the slumped housing market. The president’s argument is this; if between ten to 15 million people can become legal, then it means they no longer have to hide behind the shadows and thus can obtain work legally. It also means that they might be able to save money and then might possibly want to buy or rent houses that would otherwise remain on the market. With this many people buying or renting homes, this effort might help kick-start the banks who need capital. This in turn will help banks to loan funds to businesses that will have more legal workers than before and could help the economy go up to way up.
     Even if all of this is theoretical, it is still worth a try. No, we have no real data on how much if any shift in the housing market will be due to making millions of people legal. No, we have no real data if newly acquired legal residents will buy or rent homes in numbers that might turn the housing market around. Yet, viewed from a logical economic perspective, it cannot hurt. Even if the number of new legalized immigrants does not have a major impact on the housing market, it certainly could still be a factor in helping the housing market. It may just be one factor that may work, but we as a nation and people will not know if we do not try. So in this respect, immigration reform is a good bet. One other thing it might do, and that is help reduce crime. With so many abandoned homes and blighted neighborhoods, immigrants moving in could help to reduce crime by occupying abandoned homes and neighborhoods, and the tax dollars they spend could help increase the police and emergency forces in so many needy communities.
       But none of this will happen if there is no immigration reform. Even some immigration reform might have a positive influence on whole communities and many of our major cities. Yet since so many undocumented are without any legal status, they cannot affect any change even when it is in their best interests. This includes the very communities they live in. Change must come from Washington, D.C. for what direction this country may go.

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