Steve Stanek, Heartland Institute, Feb. 1, 2006
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) has used his executive powers to create a state-backed low-interest mortgage loan program for persons with little or no credit history, including illegal aliens.
The Opportunity I-Loans, as they are called, have a below-market interest rate (currently 5.95 percent) for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The interest rate will vary but will always be at least half a point below market interest rates. A slightly higher interest rate is also available for homebuyers who receive $1,000 in downpayment assistance through the program.
The move generated praise from some groups and criticism from others, including denunciations from all four candidates for the Republican nomination for governor.
“People who are working hard, paying their taxes, are of good moral character . . . regardless of their immigration status, they, too, should be able to share in the American dream,” U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) told reporters at a December 11 service at New Zion Baptist Church in Chicago, where Blagojevich announced the program.
“Buying a home is a key first step for many working families to start realizing the American Dream,” Blagojevich said in a statement. “But when you are paid in cash, or you can’t open a checking account or establish a credit history, applying for a mortgage loan is a lot more difficult. That’s why we created the Opportunity I-Loan program to help Latino families, African-American families, Asian-American families, and so many other families qualify for a loan and buy a home.”
Jim Oberweis, a private businessman also seeking the Republican nomination for governor, was equally blunt.
“Our governor is sending a message: Break our laws and we’ll reward you with a new home,” Oberweis said. “It’s absolutely insane. We are going to reward people who are here illegally with more attractive interest rates than we give to our veterans, people who have risked their lives for our country.
“This is an individual who is out of control. He is driving business out of our state, he does these things that cost us more money, and then we don’t have enough money to fund our teachers’ pensions,” Oberweis said.