A Truly Terrible Idea–Homeland Security Proposes to Check Credit Reports of Immigrants

The Department of Homeland Security today announced a proposed rule that would make it harder for immigrants to get visas to study or work in the U.S., to extend their visas, or to become lawful permanent residents (green cards). DHS proposes to use the immigrant’s credit report and credit score in a factor in ruling on applications. This is a truly horrible idea. The reports and scores are not designed for immigration purposes. Credit scores are only designed to predict if a consumer pays his or her bills on time. Credit scores are based on credit history and what balances he or she may have on credit cards. Credit reports contain no information on earnings or income. More than half the negative accounts on consumers’ reports are medical debts incurred involuntarily.  The National Consumer Law Center has an analysis here.

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