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BYU Research Links Foreclosures To Mass Deportations

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tntemerson via www.istockphoto.com

A Brigham Young University professor is making a case for how mass deportations increased foreclosure rates during the housing market crash. And he warns of a similar outcome if President Elect Donald Trump makes good on promises to deport millions of illegal immigrants.

Back in the mid-2000’s, counties experiencing rapid Latino population growth were given the opportunity to sign an agreement with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency or ICE. The arrangement gave local law enforcement agencies in places like Maricopa County, Arizona the authority to help deport tens of thousands of illegal immigrants. 

“They were setting up stops outside of schools,” says Jacob Rugh, an assistant professor of sociology at Brigham Young University. “They were getting people driving without licenses, with a broken taillight.”

Rugh says Latinos bore the brunt of the housing crisis. He and Cornell Sociology professor Matt Hall sought to find out why.

Many households are supported financially by couples who have mixed legal status-meaning one partner is undocumented. Rugh and Hall determined that as undocumented wage earners were deported and home prices dropped, Latino households became susceptible to foreclosure.

Moving forward, Rugh says If there’s another round of mass deportations, there could be similar consequences.

“The housing market has returned to normal foreclosure levels, so we don’t expect it to trigger a foreclosure crisis,” Rugh says. “But obviously all that lost income and potential means those households will have less money to pay for medical expenses, save for college and build a better future for the next generation.”

Rugh and Hall published their research last week in the online journal Sociological Science.

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