After Mitzie Perez filled out a preliminary form online to inquire about a student loan from Wells Fargo last summer, a message flashed across the screen saying the bank had no options for her. “This could be due to the school you selected, your field of study, and/or your citizenship status,” the bank’s website said.
The third-year bachelor’s student in gender and sexuality studies at the University of California, Riverside, didn’t think her citizenship status would be a problem. Though she’s undocumented, in 2012 she received work authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That program shields undocumented immigrants who arrived as youths from deportation and allows them to work legally.
Curious, Perez hit the back button on her browser and changed her answer on one of the preliminary questions to say she was a permanent resident. After she resubmit her application, Wells Fargo allegedly offered her a loan option she could apply for.
“I didn’t expect it,” Perez told The Huffington Post. “I’ve been approved for credit cards. It was weird to me that a loan wouldn’t be approved, but creditors would provide me that support.”
A class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California says rejecting her application based on immigration status violates both federal and state law.