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The Trump administration has issued unofficial orders leading to the denial of federal housing loans to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a BuzzFeed News investigation reveals.
DACA, which protects young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and are undocumented due to decisions not in their hands, has been under attack by the current administration since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016. The administration tried to end the program, which would potentially affect 800,000 young adults who were brought into the U.S.
While a Federal Appeals Court ruled against the administration’s attempt in November, the BuzzFeed exposé reports that more discrete—and unofficial—measures are in place that aims to undermine services DACA recipients can get.
BuzzFeed spoke with lenders and DACA recipients who all claim they’ve experienced this change, though there is no official policy change that shows such orders. The change comes in a year that’s also experiencing a housing slowdown.
“It wasn’t announced in the news or anything, but it was just sort of put out there as ‘hey, this is a new restriction,’ and then boom, we were unable to qualify,” Diego Corzo, a realtor in Austin, Texas, told BuzzFeed. “In my eyes they’re doing this to restrict what the DREAMers can do.”
Austin is one of the cities that was most affected by the housing slowdown, according to a Bloomberg report from June. Corzo says he’s been hearing from lenders for the past few months that they can’t work with DACA recipients for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans.
The FHA has traditionally allowed access for low-income groups to secure housing loans, allowing down payments as low as 3.5 percent. It is insured by the government, which makes it easier for the lender to work with the borrower.
BuzzFeed also interviewed a lender at USA Mortgage who recently declined a loan to a DACA recipient.
“It was not USA Mortgage decision, it’s a [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] decision that FHA loans can no longer be made to DACA. We are following HUD rules,” he said.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says on its website that “non-U.S. citizens who do not have lawful residency in the U.S. are not eligible for FHA-insured mortgages.” The DACA program gives legal status to unauthorized immigrants.
H/T BuzzFeed News
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque