Undocumented Florida residents often share the American dream of home ownership but may find it difficult to imagine being able to qualify for a mortgage. While some take questionable or difficult approaches to buying a home, the use of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers is becoming a viable alternative. Prior to the crash of the housing and mortgage markets between 2007 and 2009, the practice of issuing mortgage loans using ITINs instead of Social Security numbers was becoming more predominant. A 2003 rule established by the Treasury Department allowed bank accounts to be established with ITINs, and many small community banks and credit unions were early participants in using this identification for mortgage eligibility.
As those in Miami who’ve been following the recent federal immigration debate already know, there is concern in Washington that the proposed legislation that was approved by the Senate last year would not be put on the current legislative agenda for the House. Worries have even surfaced that the bill itself has lost all previous momentum. A major part of the proposed legislation was to offer a path to permanent U.S. residency to undocumented farm workers. Those hoping for more movement on that front do, however, have something to be excited about.
A common perception that may exist regarding undocumented immigrants in Miami and throughout the rest of the U.S. is that they're all coming in from Central American countries. Yet a recent unique trend has emerged among those immigrants who are entering the U.S. illegally. And while their countries of origin are far, far away from Central America, they are finding the path the U.S. permanent residency to be much easier than other immigrant groups.
The path to U.S. permanent residency or citizenship can be a difficult one. From the time immigrants arrive in Miami, they essentially begin what could be viewed as a "trial period" during which they are expected to demonstrate a willingness to obey their new country's laws and statutes. Yet those working for permanent residency are only human and, like many, are subject to moments of poor judgment. Yet for them, their mistakes could very easily impede their progress to permanent residency and possibly get them deported to their countries of origin.
One may be surprised to learn just how many of their friends and neighbors in Miami are living in the U.S. illegally. Equally as surprising may be the notable public figures with ties to undocumented immigrants. Yet despite whom one may know or even be related to, according the immigration experts, his or her path to permanent residency isn’t any clearer than one who has no famous family at all.
People’s feelings are often mixed on those who immigrated to the U.S. illegally. One the one hand, they may understand these immigrant’s desires to enjoy the benefits and opportunities available to themselves and their families here. At the same time, most in Miami also recognize the need to follow the proper legal channels in order to enter the country, and that the failure by many to do so has led to many of the immigration restrictions that we see today. Yet those mixed feelings haven’t stopped many public and private organizations from offering assistance to illegals to help in improving their lives and those of the people in their communities, whether they remain in the U.S. or return to their native countries.
For those hoping to immigrate, work, and establish a life in Miami or in other areas across the United States, an immigrant visa is the key to making that happen. While obtaining such a visa presents a clear the path to one establishing permanent residency, it can be much more difficult and costly to be approved for one compared to a non-immigrant visa. Should one who is already in the U.S. fail to meet the strict requirements for getting an immigrant visa, they could face deportation to their country of origin.
Permanent residency is ultimate goal for many who have immigrated here to the U.S. and Miami illegally. And as the number of illegal immigrants has grown to over the years to 11 million people, so has the need to reform current immigration laws that address both the issue of those waiting to come into the U.S. and the issue of those currently here.
When people read stories about immigration and the desire to provide citizenship to alien residents, they often fail to remember that families and children will be greatly impacted by what is decided. Thousands of children are brought into the country each year and put into American schools in order to get an education. For many immigrants, family immigration is a way for them to give their children a better life than the one that they had, and few would likely fault them for that desire.
The decisions that are made by this year's congress members could affect the lives of immigrants and their families in a big way. Some political groups and congressmen say that the U.S. should change current immigration law to provide a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented people living in the country. Others say that people who came into the country illegally should not be rewarded for their actions by being given U.S. citizenship. Still others seem unable to make up their mind what the federal government should do to address the problem.