Sunday, June 04, 2006

Illegals in Georgia cautious about buying homes.

Immigration: I am going to start using a fake social security number when needed because by the looks of this article, no one is cracking down on using fake numbers..

Home buying among Latinos in metro Atlanta has slowed significantly in recent months amid jitters over immigration reform, say real estate agents and lenders who cater to the Spanish-speaking community. The cooldown is an early sign that a new Georgia law intended to reduce illegal immigration, enacted less than two months ago, could be having an effect. Many prospective buyers also are apparently waiting for a resolution to the pitched battle in Congress over what to do with the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. "There's no question that there's a panic in the Hispanic community," said Raymond Amengual, a lender with AHM Mortgage, which specializes in a Hispanic market that has its share of illegal immigrants. "The problem is not so much their immigration status as the new laws that make them think they might not be able to work." Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), the original sponsor of the legislation designed to combat illegal immigration in Georgia, said he had little sympathy for lenders and real estate agents who build their business on what he calls questionable transactions. The new law "has begun to reach its intended purpose if these people are not choosing Georgia as their permanent residence," he said. Illegal immigrants buy homes with Social Security numbers that don't belong to them or with legal Individual Tax Identification Numbers — commonly called Tax IDs. These numbers, issued by the Internal Revenue Service, allow people in the country illegally to pay their taxes. The IRS issued more than 1.2 million tax identification numbers in 2003, the most recent year for which figures are available. Advocates say illegal immigrants perceive paying taxes as a way to establish a financial record that might help them if Congress decides they should get a path to legalization.
This part made my eyes start to twitch.
Gov. Sonny Perdue signed the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act into law in April. The act, whose provisions take effect in several phases beginning in July 2007, will make it harder for employers to deduct the wages they pay illegal immigrant from their state taxes. It also requires illegal immigrants jailed for a felony or driving under the influence to be reported to immigration officials. At the federal level, Congress is bitterly divided over whether to grant legal status to most illegal immigrants, including up to an estimated 800,000 in Georgia. The increased attention on illegal immigration has led some homeowners who used fraudulent Social Security numbers to either sell their houses or refinance them using a tax identification number. Elba Gonzalez said she and her husband, who bought their Smyrna home four years ago with a fraudulent Social Security number, transferred it to a Tax ID number in January. They had been worried. "Maybe soon they would throw us out and immigration [officials] might come get us," said Gonzalez, who is from Mexico. "Just watching the news makes one so nervous." Eliezer Velez, of Atlanta's Latin American Association, says he has heard from a number of Hispanics in a similar spot. "Fearful clients have begun to call us saying they want to sell their houses," Velez said. "They feel unprotected because of the new law, and they say Georgia is not a state where they feel secure."
How bad are our enforcement efforts when illegal aliens can come right out and say we used fake SS numbers and still be able to get a tax id?

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