Latino civil rights group sues to force Wells Fargo to issue student loans to undocumented immigrants

Another frivolous lawsuit filed by an undocumented immigrant?

A Latino civil rights group has joined a student at a California public university in her lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank, to force the financial giant to issue student loans to immigrants who arrived here illegally as minors.

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Mitzie Perez, a junior at the University of California, Riverside, and the California League of United Latin American Citizens, known asLULAC, filed its lawsuit in Federal District Court in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

Perez arrived in the United States from Guatemala with her parents at the age of five and was since given temporary authorization to remain in the country by former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

“I feel like I’m still kind of being criminalized. I just want to go to school,” said Perez, according to CNN Money.

The complaint alleges that the bank “outright refuses to extend loans to individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.”

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are represented by lawyers working with the Los Angeles-based Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or MALDEF.

“This is about being disqualified upfront, without any consideration of the relevant qualification criteria for assessing risk,” said Thomas Saenz, a MALDEF attorney.

Perez claims that she was denied a student loan because she is neither a U.S. citizen nor a lawful permanent resident. At the time her loan was rejected, however, the bank stated that a number of factors could have resulted in its decision.

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“This could be due to the school you selected, your field of study, and/or your citizenship status,” the bank informed her at the time.

Perez may be just one of a number of plaintiffs to the suit. The Examiner reported:

The lawsuit seeks to be certified as a class action on behalf of all people in the United States who were denied loans or other products by Wells Fargo since 2013 because they were not citizens, despite meeting the identification requirements.

The suit asks for an injunction barring the alleged discrimination and for a financial compensatory and punitive award.

 

In its statement, Wells Fargo said that although it respects the work of LULAC and MALDEF. it was also saddened by the lawsuit, adding that other means to a resolution should have been attempted first.

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“we are disappointed they filed a lawsuit rather than work with us on solutions to help people realize their goals of higher education,” the statement said.

“Wells Fargo understands the dream of pursuing higher education and we remain focused on our responsible lending practices to assist temporary and permanent residents and U.S. citizens in obtaining student financing.”

Conservatives thought the lawsuit frivolous.

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