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Central American Worker

Housing Program


According to social research, a significant portion of the Central America Northern Triangle diaspora is working in the US to build assets and manage risks.  Finding ways to help them build assets and insure against economic risk in their home countries could relieve the pressure they have to remain in the US after a specified period of time.  The US, prior to 1986, allowed Hispanic workers more freedom (albeit not legally authorized) to come, work  in the US to address financial needs, and then return home.  The immigration reform in 1986 and later, literally closed the "swinging door" for worker migration and forced these workers to maintain a permanent presence in the US.  Not only did they stay but they began to bring their families to the US to be with them.  The modern day legacy of this phenomen is the migration of children to the US from Central America.


By establishing a program that undocumented workers could participate in at the community or state level to use a portion of their pay (matched by their employers) -- to finance a "housing fund" that could be accessed only upon return to their country of origin, a strong incentive could be put in place for these workers already in the US to return home after a specified work period.   This funding would come from what they currently pay as the Social Security tax.  Since research shows that approximately 90 percent of undocumented workers currently pay as the Social Security tax yet will receive no benefit from it, this new mechanism -- a housing fund -- would provide these workers a tangible and important economic asset -- but only if they return to their country of origin after their term of service.  


This type of woker program would not involve bringing in new foreign workers, it would focus on the undocumented within existing communities and provide them a mechanism to save for a house in their home country.  The funding would finance the US modular housing industry to initiate or expand operations in Central America.  The largest of business in this sector, Clayton Homes (a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary) has in the past expressed interest in this approach.  There is a strong profit potential here as well as an incentive for workers to return to their home countries. This is not a total solution but it is one part of a comprehensive approach that has to be developed if we are going to gain control of our immigration system in the US.

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