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DOJ threatens financial institutions over credit denials for illegal immigrants

Published in Blog on October 16, 2023 by Jakob Fay

The Biden administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) cracked down on financial institutions last week, warning them not to deny illegal immigrants’ credit applications. Allegedly, the CFPB has received complaints from would-be borrowers that banks rejected their loan requests due to their immigration status. The government agency, responsible for ensuring Americans are treated fairly by banks, shared at least one such complaint in a blog.

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Department of Justice… jointly issue this statement to assist creditors and borrowers in understanding the potential civil rights implications of a creditor’s consideration of an individual’s immigration status under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA),” the agencies said in a press release on Thursday. They then cautioned that, “creditors should be aware that unnecessary or overbroad reliance on immigration status in the credit decisioning process, including when that reliance is based on bias, may run afoul of ECOA’s antidiscrimination provisions and could also violate other laws.”

Interestingly, the agencies also admitted that the ECOA does not technically forbid consideration of an individual’s immigration status in the loan process. In fact, Regulation B of the ECOA explicitly authorizes “The creditor [to] inquire about the applicant’s permanent residence and immigration status in the United States in determining creditworthiness.”

As one report notes, “Reg. B allows a lender to consider whether an applicant is a permanent resident of the United States, the applicant’s immigration status, and any additional information that may be necessary to ascertain the lender’s rights and remedies regarding repayment of the credit applied for.”

As unlawful border crossings continue to climb (more than 200,000 illegal immigrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in September alone, according to CNN), the feds seem more interested in showering immigrants with benefits than they are in fixing our broken immigration system or ending the crisis on our southern border. In this case, they have injected themselves into the private banking world, threatening financial institutions with the prospect of running “afoul of ECOA’s antidiscrimination provisions and… other laws” if they so much as ask about a borrower’s immigration status, even though they know doing so is within the ECOA’s own rules.

This is yet further proof that our federal government does not work for the American people and is hopelessly broken. The only political solution for putting the DOJ and all 438 other government agencies and sub-agencies back in line is with Article V of the Constitution, which enables We the People to take back control of our country.

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