If you saw the old movie Pride of the Yankees, you know that New York Yankee baseball legend Lou Gehrig, just diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that would kill him, made a famous speech in which he declared himself "the luckiest guy on the face of the earth."
When it comes to feeling like the luckiest guy on the face of the earth, however, Gehrig had nothing on Hammond, Indiana, resident Javier Palacios Perez.
Gehrig's illustrious career included setting a major league record by playing in 2,130 consecutive games (1925 to 1939), a career average of .340 and hitting four home runs in a game.
Perez did none of these things, of course. But he still has achieved celebrity status of a sort thanks to our Main Stream Media that regularly pumps out feel-good stories about millions like him: He is believed to be the first illegal alien in Northwest Indiana to qualify for a home loan using the IRS' Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
The IRS began issuing these cards in the late 1990s to people who don't have Social Security numbers so they can file tax returns. To date, nobody has explained why the ITIN, which the IRS nearly two years ago said in a letter to the governors of all 50 states was to be used for tax purposes only, has become another vehicle by which the bottom-feeding banking industry can get its share of the growing illegal-alien market.
"ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purposes," says the IRS on its website.
The rule of law in this country, which is fast becoming—well, let's hear what's really important these days from Cal Bellamy, chairman and chief executive officer of Bank Calumet in Hammond, [Send it mail], which allowed factory worker Perez to snatch his part of the American Dream by sneaking in through the back door:
"We want to work with hard-working, taxpaying people with strong families and deep religious faith. And that to us is the definition of the Hispanic community." [Bank Calumet opens home ownership to illegal immigrants, Northwest Indiana Times, August 17, 2005]
This is a more politically correct way of putting what one bank president in southern California, Desert Community Bank president Ron Wilson, [Email him] said recently after announcing his institution would allow the matricula consular to be used to open bank accounts: "We cater to everybody. The only color we understand here is the color of green." ("Local Banks Tap Illegal Immigrant Market," Miguel Gonzales, Daily Press, July 17, 2005)
A number of e-mails to Bank Calumet's Bellamy (e-mail him yourself) produced no direct response. But Greg Serbon, a member of the Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement (IFIRE), which staged a Sept. 3 demonstration in front of the bank, received the following e-mail explaining the bank's decision to reward illegal behavior:
"The people (illegal aliens) we are lending to must meet all the same financial standards as any other borrower. There are no subsidies—public or private.
"We received an interesting e-mail from someone whose grandfather grew up in Poland. When he received his draft notice, he refused to serve and ran away stealing a horse. Somehow or other he got onto a ship sailing for America. Landed here with no money. He eventually married a Polish girl, had children who acted as his translators. Some of us forget how our own families got here. Bank Calumet."
So there you have it. Mr. Perez apparently fits Bank Calumet's criteria for achieving success in the United States: Break a few laws to get here and then don't bother to learn the language of the country that allows you to get away with it.
As promised, IFIRE held a second demonstration to protest Bank Calumet's greed-driven policy, this time at the bank's Munster location on Sept. 24. Cheree Calabro of Valpariso, who heads IFIRE's Porter County's branch, again reported passersby honked their horns and gave the "thumbs up" sign. Several people have told Calabro that they will pull their savings out of Bank Calumet.
Meanwhile, the "hard-working, tax-paying" Javier Palacios Perez and his ilk, with the support of American businesses like Bank Calumet, are even more brazen as they wave the Hawaiian good luck sign in the faces of the rest of us.