Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, introduced a bill on Wednesday to ensure that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries are eligible for federal home loans, home loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and Rural Housing home loans.
The Homeownership for Dreamers Act, co-written with Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Redlands, is intended to clarify and protect the eligibility to receive home loans of DACA beneficiaries -- also known as Dreamers. They are undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children.
Vargas said that due to the lack of clarity surrounding Dreamers' eligibility under the Trump administration, lenders held off on providing loans to these individuals.
"I introduced this bill last Congress when the prior administration's Department of Housing and Urban Development tried jeopardizing government-backed loan eligibility for Dreamers," he said.
"I am reintroducing the Homeownership for Dreamers Act to ensure that this cannot happen under a future administration. Dreamers and their families deserve the same access to opportunities offered to other Americans. While DACA recipients are once again able to access these loans, a future administration or FHA leadership could attempt to bar such access if we don't pass legislation that will clarify their eligibility," Vargas continued.
The act is intended to help clarify eligibility for certain mortgages with federal credit enhancement. Specifically, the bill will ensure loan eligibility is not conditioned on the status of the mortgagor as a DACA beneficiary if all other eligibility criteria are met.
Last month, the Federal Housing Administration asserted that DACA recipients would be eligible to apply for FHA-backed mortgages effective Jan. 19. According to the statement, FHA's recognition of DACA recipients' eligibility results from the entity's recent decision to change the language in the FHA Handbook.
"Dreamers and their families are key members of our communities and should have the same opportunities to become homeowners as any other American," Aguilar said. "I'm proud to partner with Rep. Vargas on legislation to codify this policy so that Dreamers can utilize FHA loans, and I look forward to working with him and the Biden administration to make sure this bill becomes law."
Vargas serves on the Financial Services Committee. Both Aguilar and Vargas are members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
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 fifth term in Congress.