Rep. Juan Vargas Leads Letter Urging HUD to Affirm DREAMers Eligibility for FHA Backed Mortgages
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 24, 2019) – Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) led a letter to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, urging the agency to immediately reverse its interpretation of policy and reaffirm Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries’ eligibility to apply for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
“I am deeply disappointed HUD has decided to block DACA beneficiaries from obtaining FHA-backed loans,” said Rep. Juan Vargas. “The young adults enrolled in the DACA program, DREAMers, are taxpaying and lawful participants in the American labor force. They have earned the opportunity to own a home. I strongly urge Secretary Carson to do right by our DREAMers and reverse HUD’s policy.”
The full text of the letter can be found below:
Dear Secretary Carson,
It has come to our attention the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Len Wolfson, has officially stated that recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are not eligible for mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). We are concerned that HUD has chosen to interpret its own guidance in a way that inappropriately and unnecessarily excludes DACA recipients from FHA loans, as there is nothing in current statute that would limit DACA recipients’ eligibility for these loans. We urge you to reverse this policy immediately.
On June 13th, 2019, the news outlet HousingWire reported that Assistant Secretary Wolfson sent a letter to Representative Pete Aguilar of California, asserting HUD had not changed any policy to make DACA recipients’ ineligible for FHA-backed mortgages. However, it is our understanding the past administration deemed DACA recipients eligible for these loans. A BuzzFeed News article published on December 14, 2018, referenced a loan officer in Chicago, who stated that he had secured over 40 FHA-backed loans for DACA recipients in the past. Respectfully, you also indicated in testimony before Congress that you believe there are a number of DACA recipients who currently have FHA-backed loans. If the FHA cannot offer loans to DACA recipients now, there must have been a change to HUD’s policy at some point, though it remains unclear at which point during this administration’s tenure that change occurred.
We are gravely concerned with HUD’s decision. As taxpayers and lawful participants in the U.S. labor force, DACA recipients have earned the right to own a home and build the American dream for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, in the short time since Assistant Secretary Wolfson’s letter has become public, it has been brought to our attention that numerous DACA recipients have lost their ability to complete the closing process, due to previously approved loans now being denied insurance. We again urge you to immediately reverse this policy.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our offices.
Nydia M. Velázquez
Raúl M. Grijalva
Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.
Jesús G. “Chuy” García
J. Luis Correa
You may review a copy of HUD's response letter here: HUD RESPONSE 07032019.pdf
Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his fourth term in Congress. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.