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HUD assistant secretary confirms DACA recipients are not permitted to get US-backed mortgages

He said that the Obama administration never granted DACA recipients that right

Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The assistant secretary for congressional and intergovernmental relations at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed that the department does not consider recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be eligible for Federal Housing Administration loans.

Who are the DACA recipients?

Using an executive order, former President Barack Obama implemented an administrative program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, protecting them from deportation. This action affected around 800,000 people.

The Trump administration has tried to rescind that policy, but a federal judge has prevented it from doing so.

What are the details?

Writing to Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) in a letter obtained by Politico and BuzzFeed, Assistant Secretary Len Wolfson said:

Determination of citizenship and immigration status is not the responsibility of HUD, and the Department relies on other government agencies for this information. Accordingly, because DACA does not confer lawful status, DACA recipients remain ineligible for FHA loans

This confirms suspicious that Democrats in Congress already had. In December, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.), Cory Booker (N.J.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.) sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson asking him whether or not the department had made it a policy to deny FHA loans to DACA recipients. The senators called it "yet another example of the Administration adopting underhanded tactics to punish DACA recipients for remaining in the United States."

But Wolfson, in his letter to Aguilar, placed the blame for this policy on the Obama administration. "This policy predates DACA by at least nine years," he wrote. "In establishing DACA on June 15, 2012, Janet Napolitano, then the Secretary of Homeland Security, made clear that DACA is merely an exercise of 'prosecutorial discretion' and 'confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship.'"

A bill guaranteeing DACA recipients the right to obtain U.S.-backed mortgages passed the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday but is unlikely to pass the Republican-held Senate or to be signed into law by the president.

One last thing…
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