This week, Senate lawmakers introduced a bill intended to ensure beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are not denied federally-backed home loans. New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez along with his team of lawmakers including Catherine Cortez Masto introduced the Homeownership for Dreamers Act to prevent agencies including the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac from refusing loans to “DREAMers,” The Nevada Independent reports.
“For many young Nevadans, homeownership represents a crucial step in securing their financial futures. It’s unacceptable that this Administration continues to target the 13,000 Dreamers in Nevada, and thousands more nationally, by denying them housing loans simply because of their immigration status,” Cortez Masto said in a statement. “I’m proud to co-sponsor legislation that protects Dreamers’ eligibility to buy homes, invest in their futures and pursue the American dream.”
Despite the push from these lawmakers, some note that non-U.S. citizens without lawful residency, including DACA recipients, are not eligible for FHA loans.
“Accordingly, because DACA does not confer lawful status, DACA recipients remain ineligible for FHA loans,” said the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in a statement.
Earlier this year, in a hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, HUD Secretary Ben Carson was questioned by Rep. Pete Aguilar on if DACA recipients are eligible for FHA-backed loans.
Aguilar asked Carson “To your knowledge, are DACA recipients eligible for FHA-backed loans, and has HUD made any changes to existing policy or interpretations?.”
“No one was aware of any changes that had been made to the policy whatsoever. I’m sure we have plenty of DACA recipients who have FHA-backed loans,” Carson responded.
Aguilar then asked Carson if HUD had changed any policy that was not yet in writing.
"I have instructed everyone to follow the laws of the United States, with regard to DACA, with regard to anyone who is an immigrant or potential immigrant to this country," Carson answered. "As long as you continue to follow the laws, you will have my approval."