Sunday, August 18, 2019

New Trump Administration Rule Will Look at Immigrants’ Credit Histories

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
Rule says the government can look at credit reports when determining who gets to stay in the U.S.
The Trump administration imposed sweeping changes to U.S. immigration policy this week, including letting the government—apparently for the first time—weigh prospective immigrants’ credit history when deciding who gets to come to the U.S. and who gets to stay.
The 800-plus-page rule, issued this week by the Department of Homeland Security, tightens the immigration-law definition of who is likely to become a “public charge,” a reason to turn down an applicant. Among other changes, the new rule generally makes it harder for legal immigrants to get permanent residency, or for prospective applicants to enter the U.S., if they rely on social programs like Medicaid or food stamps or deemed likely to need them.
The government’s final rule says it will consider many metrics in determining a person’s immigration request. But it also says that a low credit score or “negative credit history” in the U.S. could indicate “that a person’s financial status is weak and that he or she may not be self-sufficient.”
Lenders have used credit reports and scores for decades to help determine whether to approve consumers for loans. Employers, insurers and others also have factored in credit information when deciding whether to hire or extend services. But those in the credit-reporting industry said they can’t recall another time where credit reports affected U.S. immigration applications.
The Department of Homeland Security pointed to the agency’s previous comments on the rule when asked about the change.
“Self-reliance, industriousness, and perseverance laid the foundation of our nation and have defined generations of hardworking immigrants seeking opportunity in the United States,” the government said in a news release when the rule was issued.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE.

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