While Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) doesn’t give legal status to undocumented youth, it allows them to do things that, frankly, many of us who are U.S. citizens take for granted.
Under DACA, immigrant youth are able to work legally. They’re able to apply for driver’s licenses. They don’t have to live in constant fear of being deported. Most importantly, it allows them to strive for their dreams, and that can include higher education and entrepreneurship, which in turn can mean applying for a loan. While denying a loan based on citizenship status violates federal law, a class action lawsuit from a group of DACA recipients accuses Wells Fargo, already in a shitload of recent controversy, of doing just that.
Wells Fargo attempted to have the lawsuit thrown out on a technicality. A judge said nope:
A federal judge in San Francisco has refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing Wells Fargo bank of denying loans to immigrants who came to the U.S. as youngsters and have been allowed to remain here.
Denial of loans based on citizenship status violates a federal law, passed in 1870, and a California civil rights law, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney said Thursday in rejecting the bank’s attempt to dismiss the proposed nationwide class-action suit.
Wells Fargo, according to the suit, has a policy of granting loans only to U.S. citizens or to noncitizens who have become permanent legal residents and have a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen.
“Every day I consider not completing my education because I don’t have the means,” said Mitzie Perez, a plaintiff in the lawsuit. According to the Los Angeles Times, Perez “applied for a student loan from Wells Fargo last year to help cover the costs of her education but was not able to proceed with the online loan application after she disclosed she was not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, according to the lawsuit. She said she works and has used credit cards to cover her tuition.”
“This is a very significant ruling,” said the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Victor Viramontes. “Wells Fargo argued that they could discriminate against DACA recipients, and the judge rejected that.”