June 20, 2019

Cortez Masto Introduces Bill to Guarantee Dreamers Access to Home Loans

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senate colleagues in introducing the Homeownership for Dreamers Act, which clarifies that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients – also known as Dreamers – cannot be denied mortgage loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) solely because of their immigration status.

“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. I’m proud to cosponsor legislation that protects Dreamers’ eligibility to buy homes, invest in their futures and pursue the American dream.”

In addition to Senators Cortez Masto and Menendez, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also cosponsored this legislation.

The Homeownership for Dreamers Act is supported by UnidosUS, United We Dream, National Fair Housing Alliance, Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), Mortgage Bankers, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Center for Responsible Lending, American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program in New Jersey, and Make the Road NJ.

Congressman Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed out of the Committee on Financial Services last week.

Full text of the bill is available here.


Last week, in a letter to Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) stated that DACA recipients are ineligible for FHA loans, a reversal from previous statements and testimony. HUD’s letter follows months of reporting that HUD instituted a new unofficial policy in which they told lenders to deny mortgage loan applications for borrowers who are DACA recipients. Days after the original report in December 2018, Senators Cortez Masto, Menendez and Booker sent a letter to HUD questioning the reported changes in their policy, to which HUD responded that the department had not “implemented any policy changes...with respect to FHA eligibility requirements for DACA recipients.”

A recent study of DACA beneficiaries showed many positive effects in the economy, including 14 percent of respondents who were able to purchase their first home after receiving DACA protections. Among respondents 25 years and older, this share increased to 20 percent.