A University of California student has filed a class action lawsuit against the fourth largest bank in the U.S. for refusing to give DACA students school loans. She claims that her and others in her position have had their civil rights violated.
Mitzie Perez brought the lawsuit on behalf of herself and “all others similarly situated.” Perez is one of the DREAMers who were given protected status from deportation by President Obama in 2012. She says she has authorization to work in the United States under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”).
She pleads in her lawsuit and cites her federal source that “As of March 31, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has approved over 1.3 million initial and renewal requests for DACA.”
The Obama DACA recipient asserts in her complaint, “There is no federal or state law or regulation that restricts banks from providing financial products to customers because the customer is an alien. Under federal law, alienage is merely one factor among many used to verify enough information to confirm the true identity of the customer.”
Perez says she went to the Wells Fargo website on August 26, 2016 to seek a student loan. When she responded to an automatic question that she was neither a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, she was immediately denied a loan.
She alleges that the automatic response that popped up was “based on information you provided, we do not have a student loan option that meets your needs. This could be due to the school you selected, your field of study, and/or your citizenship status.”
She said she returned to the prior screen on the website and changed the response about citizenship to “I am a permanent resident alien.” Perez said at that point she received information about a student loan option.
Perez says in the federal complaint that she is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in gender & sexuality studies. She complains that she was forced to cover her tuition with a variety of credit cards.
Californian LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit. The suit has been filed in a United States District Court, in the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.