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Immigration Proposal Could Subject Gov’t to FCRA Compliance

Could the federal government be forced to start complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act? It’s possible, if it continues to use credit scores in reviewing immigration applications, according to a published report.

A proposal from the Trump administration would give U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Homeland Security the opportunity to review an individual’s credit report when considering immigration applications, including those for green cards. But doing so would force the government to comply with the FCRA and would open up the government to potential lawsuits from state attorneys general, especially those who are Democrats, if there are issues with complying, according to an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center.

As well, issues with credit reporting errors could lead to individuals being denied status when no such issue exists. The report notes that credit reporting errors are one of the most common complaints submitted by consumers to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“To place something as problematic as a classic FICO score into the center of who gets access to the American dream and who doesn’t is completely unconscionable,” said Scott Astrada, the Center for Responsible Lending’s federal policy director.

Critics of the decision to include credit scores in an immigration application review say that the scores bear little impact on such an important decision as to whether to grant someone the permission to live and work in the United States.

The scores are intended to be part of a self-sustainability assessment for individuals seeking to move to the U.S.

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