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Lawsuit Claims Wells Fargo Denied Student Loans to ‘Dreamer’ Immigrants

Jan 31, 2017 / Media Coverage / Fortune — Feliz Solomon

Wells Fargo is under new pressure this week after a federal lawsuit was filed Monday accusing the bank of denying loans for immigrants who live, work and study in the U.S. legally.

The Associated Press reports that the suit, filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in Los Angeles, claims that Wells Fargo denied student loans to young immigrants enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created by former President Barack Obama.

The plaintiffs seek a court order deeming the policy discriminatory, and requiring Wells Fargo to grant loans to DACA participants, who are not yet citizens but are afforded a number of rights and protections under the program. Immigrants involved in the suit meet all identification requirements for financing, the AP reports, but were denied because they do not have citizenship.

"Every day I consider not completing my education because I don't have the means," Mitzie Perez, a 25-year-old plaintiff in the case, told the AP. Perez, who emigrated from Guatemala in 1997, was reportedly unable to proceed with an online loan application after entering her residency status.

"It's very important in our view to establish that there are clear rules against this kind of discrimination, particularly in a time like this," Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF told the AP.

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