Mass Deportations Damage U.S. Housing Market by Exacerbating Foreclosures

Friday, December 09, 2016
(photo: Terrance Emerson, Getty Images)


By Emily Badger, New York Times


Right around the time foreclosures were starting to pile up in the housing crash, on their way to affecting nearly 1 in 5 homeowning Hispanic households, the very same communities took a second blow.


The federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, in partnership with local law enforcement, was increasing deportations of unauthorized immigrants: more than 3 million in all between 2005 and 2013.


New research now suggests that the deportations helped exacerbate foreclosures. Counties that collaborated with ICE in what became a large-scale deportation sweep experienced a surge in foreclosures of homes owned by Hispanics, according to a study (pdf) by Jacob Rugh and Matthew Hall published Thursday in the journal Sociological Science. They argue that the roundups help explain why Hispanics faced the highest foreclosure rates during the housing crash — even among households with legal residents and U.S. citizens.


“It really started to make sense when you looked at the timing of things,” said Rugh, a sociologist at Brigham Young University. “When you looked at this peak of deportations, it came right on the eve of the housing crisis. So you could totally envision a scenario where people were losing male wage earners from households when home prices were collapsing.”


These findings also reveal the spiraling and often unseen effects of mass deportations, a point that is no longer purely academic as President-elect Donald J. Trump weighs whether to make good on his campaign promise to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants.


Previous research suggests that Hispanic households, like black ones, were disproportionately victimized by subprime lending schemes. But the fact that foreclosure rates among Hispanics surpassed those among blacks points to something else going on.


Rugh and Hall note that Cuban immigrants and Puerto Ricans — two groups not targeted for deportation because of their special immigration protections and citizenship status — did not suffer the same high foreclosure rates.


To Learn More:

Deporting the American Dream: Immigration Enforcement and Latino Foreclosures (by Jacob S. Rugh,a Matthew Hall, Sociological Science) (pdf)

Private Prison Industry May be Big Winner in Trump/Sessions Immigrant Deportation Plans (by Rebecca Boone, Associated Press)

Donald Trump Has a Plan for Deporting Millions of California Illegal Immigrants (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Foreclosure Crisis Increased Racial Segregation in U.S. (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)


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