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Home | News | Government | Housing Groups Consider Impact of Immigration Reform
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Housing Groups Consider Impact of Immigration Reform

As Congress moves to consider immigration reform, the housing industry is also weighing in on how certain provisions will impact the market.

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According to the ""National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals"":http://nahrep.org/ (NAHREP), allowing a path for the legalization of undocumented immigrants could mean $500 billion in new real estate transactions.

NAHREP explained that of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, six million are likely to pursue legalization and possibly citizenship, while three million would pursue homeownership. The calculation is based on the patterns of naturalized Latinos.

""Foreign-born householders have a high value and strong desire for homeownership,"" said Juan Martinez, NAHREP president. ""They have been here in our midst for years, working and participating in our economy. Legitimizing them through immigration reforms would finally give them the access and the confidence to buy homes.""

According to NAHREP, up to three million of the undocumented immigrants could potentially afford a home that is worth $173,600, which would lead to more than $500 billion in new mortgages.

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The transactions could also create $28 billion in income within the real estate community when assuming an average of 5.5 percent in sales commissions for the homes sold.

The ""National Association of Home Builders"":http://www.nahb.org/ (NAHB) also provided input on immigration reform and asked lawmakers to establish a ""fair and workable"" ""E-Verify"":http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=75bce2e261405110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD&vgnextchannel=75bce2e261405110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD system during a congressional round table discussion last week.

NAHB Chairman Rick Judson called for a system that is ""fair and efficient,"" but does ""not impose significant burdens on employers.""

""Congress must also be mindful of the home building industry and its intricate system of general contractors and subcontractors for the system to be workable,"" said Judson.

The NAHB explained a ""fair and workable"" E-Verify system should still maintain current law by holding employers accountable for verifying identity and work authorization status of their employees, while also forbidding employers from knowingly hiring undocumented workers.

In addition to maintaining current laws, the association asked for a ""robust"" safe harbor for employers when dealing with errors in the E-Verify system and a strong pre-emption clause preventing state and local governments from creating their own version of verification requirements for employers.

The NAHB also suggested employers should be able to begin the E-Verify process when a potential employee accepts a position rather than wait until the start date and have access to the system via telephone.

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