Foreclosures Used to Stash Illegal Immigrants

New trend is emerging in Arizona neighborhoods hit hard by the housing crisis.

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Here's some more surprising fallout from the housing crisis.

The Arizona Republic is reporting that a large number of foreclosed homes are being turned into so-called "drophouses," which smugglers use to hide illegal immigrants until their payment arrives.

From the Republic:

The largest concentrations of Valley drophouses are in the same west Phoenix and Mesa neighborhoods that have the largest share of foreclosures, a comparison of drophouse and foreclosure data shows.

In addition, of the 41 Valley drophouses investigated for violence in the past year, 12, or nearly 30 percent, were in foreclosure when they were raided.

The patterns show that wherever homeowners are in financial distress, "coyotes" are probably lurking.

The weakening housing market and tighter border security make perfect conditions for drophouses to flourish in Arizona—more than 600 have been raided in the Valley since 2005. Illegal immigrants have to rely on professional smugglers to get them into the country. Smugglers hunt for rental homes in metropolitan Phoenix to stash immigrants long enough for payments to arrive, then release them to go on their way.

In a battered housing market, more homeowners are desperate to rent their properties, sometimes to stave off foreclosure.