What would Jesus do, about the bailout?

A Christian news organization reports about the danger that illegal immigrants might get mortgage relief from the Paulson plan

By Andrew Leonard
Published October 3, 2008 10:55PM (EDT)

Chad Groening, reporting for OneNewsNow, alerts to us a problem with the bailout that many of us might not have considered. It may unfairly help out illegal aliens in danger of facing foreclosure!

OneNewsNow is part of the American Family News Network, an offshoot of the American Family Association founded by arch-religious right conservative Donald Wildmon. AFN is dedicated to purveying "Your Latest News From A Christian Perspective." Groening came to AFN because, as he says in his bio, "Working for AFN has given me the opportunity to tell the unfettered truth, without having to worry about some liberal producer or news executive filtering the story. Most importantly, working at AFN gives me the opportunity to serve Jesus Christ."

Which means, in this case, publicizing the fears of Jim Boulet, the director of the Death-Before-Bilingualism English First organization. Boulet is horrified at the prospect that some illegal immigrants may inadvertently end up getting bailed out by the recently signed-into-law "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008."

According to the director of Latino affairs for the Center for Responsible Lending, 375,000 high-interest loans went to Hispanics in 2005 -- and nearly 73,000 of them are likely to go into foreclosure. Jim Boulet, executive director of English First, is concerned about that.

"Now we don't know among those Latinos who's legal and who's illegal because they won't tell us," he acknowledges, "but there's some percentage there. [So] watch and see if there isn't a nice bailout for illegal aliens...."

In hopes of cutting that off, Boulet has sent out an Action Alert encouraging citizens to contact their members of Congress as soon as possible and to ask them to oppose any mortgage relief for illegal aliens. It would be very simple to do, according to Boulet.

"All you have to do is exempt those loans from the bailout," he explains. "And then illegal aliens will not benefit, nor will the banks that try to profit on them. There is no such provision [in the bailout] at this point."

I suspect most readers, like me, are ready to take a break from a diet of all-bailout-news all-the-time. But I could not let this tidbit pass without sharing a few thoughts.

1)Wouldn't it be great if so many American homeowners received mortgage relief from the bailout that the total would include enough dastardly invaders to worry about? There is a provision in the bill which directs the government to look for ways to provide some mortgage relief, although it's unclear of how that will work. But I suspect that in the end, the real beneficiaries of the bill will have addresses in Manhattan, red-white-and-blue passports, and are unlikely to be facing foreclosure.

2)I am well aware that both illegal immigration and the bailout are hot-button topics for millions of Americans, but somehow it just doesn't seem Christian to me to hope that a family facing financial ruin gets forced out of their home, no matter what their citizenship is. I think Jesus Christ would not be amused.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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