In a move that further underscores the Biden administration’s questionable priorities, two federal agencies have recently issued directives to U.S. banks and financial institutions, instructing them not to reject credit applications from illegal immigrants based on their immigration status. This decision, which many see as another attempt to pander to specific demographics, is a potential security risk and a slap in the face to law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants who have followed the rules.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it would be unlawful for financial institutions to decline credit cards and various loan applications to illegal immigrants solely because of their non-citizen status. This directive was issued in response to reports of consumers being denied credit due to their immigration status, even if they had strong credit histories and ties to the U.S.
While the agencies reference the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) as the basis for their directive, claiming it protects against discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin, they stretch its interpretation conveniently. The ECOA does not explicitly mention immigration status. Yet, the Biden administration seems keen on bending the rules to fit its narrative.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division stated that lenders should not deny individuals the chance to secure loans based on “unlawful bias.” Similarly, CFPB Director Rohit Chopra emphasized that the CFPB would not tolerate using immigration status as a reason for discrimination. However, one must question: isn’t it a bank’s prerogative to assess legal risks when lending money?
Bud Cummins, a former U.S. Attorney, aptly highlighted the absurdity of this directive. He pointed out the irony in the DOJ and CFPB, suggesting that it might be illegal for banks to refuse loans to individuals who have already broken federal laws to even be in the country. The message seems clear: the Biden administration is more interested in appeasing those who have entered the country illegally than upholding the rule of law.
As of January 2022, the Center for Immigration Studies estimated that approximately 11.35 million illegal immigrants resided in the U.S. With such a significant number, the potential risks associated with this directive are immense.
The agencies did acknowledge a grey area in their directive, admitting that the ECOA “does not expressly prohibit consideration of immigration status.” Yet, they were quick to caution financial institutions against any “unnecessary or overbroad reliance on immigration status” in their credit decision-making process. They further suggested that such practices could violate ECOA’s anti-discrimination provisions and other laws.
It remains to be seen if any banks or financial institutions will challenge this interpretation of the law. However, what’s clear is that the Biden administration continues to prioritize the interests of illegal immigrants over those of law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants. Such decisions undermine the rule of law and pose potential risks to the nation’s financial system.
While the Biden administration may believe it’s championing the cause of illegal immigrants with such directives, it’s essential to remember that every action has consequences. And in this case, the consequences could be detrimental to the fabric of our nation’s legal and financial systems.