US Department of Homeland Security adds credit scores to immigrant vetting


In September 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security proposed to add credit scores and histories to the list of information immigrants are required to submit when applying for legal resident status. The stated purpose of the proposed rule is to bar those who might become a "public charge" from acquiring legal residency, extending their stay, or changing their status. While credit reports do reveal information about an individual's debt, payment, and work history, they were never designed for immigration purposes; they are merely intended to predict whether someone will pay their bills. Factors such as outsized medical bills, job loss, or divorce can all affect credit scores, but scores do not offer a nuanced understanding of causes of late or missing payments.

Writer: Alessandra Malito; Josh Lauer
Publication: MarketWatch; Slate
Publication date: 2018-09-30; 2018-11-23

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