Well that is what this looks like! CASA is offering micro-loans to legal permanent residents to help them defray the cost of a citizenship application and are charging pretty hefty interest rates to the poor and struggling immigrants.
From the Baltimore Sun:
Casa de Maryland launched a program Tuesday to offer small loans to legal permanent residents who would like to apply for U.S. citizenship, the nonprofit said.
The pilot program will loan 125 individuals each $680, the fee charged for naturalization, the immigrant advocacy group said in a statement.
Borrowers will be required to repay the loan over a six-month period at an interest rate of 8.5 percent to 9 percent, according to the statement. Applicants will pay a $25 application fee that will be returned upon full repayment of the loan, Casa said.
The program was initiated to make the cost of applying for citizenship more manageable for low-income immigrants, the organization said.
I have two questions for CASA de Maryland.
1) Did CASA get any taxpayer funding (either federal or state) for the seed money for their loan shark business? (They got encouragement from Rep. Chris Van Hollen, here.)*
2) Is CASA aware that it is discriminating against Muslim immigrants who are forbidden under shariah law to pay interest? I think the folks at the Islamic Society of Annapolis should be alerted to this racist and Islamophobic behavior on the part of CASA. Don’t you agree?
*Go to CASA’s website and read about the poster boy for their press conference on the micro-loan program. He is a Liberian who came as a student but stayed here after he finished his education because we had more economic opportunities. But, he flew back to Liberia and checked things out, saw that the country is a mess, flew back here and is now applying for citizenship using this loan. How is he even eligible to be a citizen when he basically failed to return home after his student visa ran out. Since when is that a path to citizenship? AND, if he had the money to fly back and forth to Africa, why doesn’t he have the money to pay for the $675 or $680 he supposedly needs for the application? The whole enterprise sounds fishy to me!