Of Illegal Immigrants, Housing Prices, and Financial Disaster

It’s nice to know that Gov. Bill Owens was concerned that the price of houses might go up by five percent if the Republican immigration bill, HB 1018, which would have required employers to ask prospective employees for Colorado identification, had passed.

However, it may have had something to do with the messengers–reportedly business leaders such as Larry Mizel, a major GOP contributor and head of MDC Holdings, which builds houses under the name Richmond American Homes. Overall construction companies have given Owens nearly $216,000 his campaigns, according to the Institute for Money in State Politics. It’s an open secret that illegal immigrants have helped build a lot of homes in Colorado.Colorado families need any break they can get. With housing prices climbing in recent years, lots of them have been having a tough time making ends meet. Colorado has had the dubious honor of being the leading state for home foreclosures for three months.. Many people fall behind after taking out adjustable mortgage loans and finding they can’t keep up with rising payments.

While foreclosures are up, however, bankruptcies are way down in 2006, by nearly 80 percent according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Colorado. This doesn’t mean that families are better off. It’s because of the new federal bankruptcy law approved by Congress and President George Bush in April 2005. The law makes it much tougher for people to file for bankruptcy. Nine out of ten families filing for bankruptcy do so because of job loss, medical problems, divorce, or separation, according to Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School and author, with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, of The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke

Banks and credit card companies, which lobbied hard for the legislation over several years before it finally passed, have poured some $122 million since 1999 into the coffers of politicians running for federal office and party committees, 64% of that to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

MuckrakingMom will be delving deeper into housing problems facing families in Colorado, immigrant and non-immigrant alike.

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About the Author

Nancy Watzman

is a Denver-based writer.

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