Deporting the American Dream: Immigration Enforcement Drives Foreclosures in Latino Communities

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ITHACA, N.Y. – Early in his presidential campaign, Donald Trump said he would deport all of the estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally.

If the president-elect keeps his word, more deportations under his administration would mean devastating losses to legal Latino homeowners – and the communities they live in.

New research by a Cornell University demographer suggests that deportation of undocumented Latinos results in higher rates of foreclosure. That’s because a sizable share of legal Latino homeowners live with undocumented wage earners who contribute to the household income; about one-third of undocumented Latinos live in homes owned by legal Latinos. When these wage earners are deported, the household loses income and starts down the path to foreclosure.

The reduced home ownership and the loss of wealth that comes with it illustrates how legal status and deportation contribute to racial inequality, said Matthew Hall, professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell.

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