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Trump Administration’s New “Public Charge” Rule Could Harm Low-Income Immigrants

Aug 13, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released new rules that drastically expand the criteria that determines whether an immigrant is likely to become a “public charge” and therefore be denied a green card or legal status in the United States. Among the new policy’s provisions, DHS is now requiring immigrants to provide their credit score and credit report.   

Center for Responsible Lending and Self-Help Co-founder and CEO Martin Eakes released the following statement on behalf of Self-Help Federal Credit Union, Self-Help Credit Union, and the Center for the Responsible Lending:

“CRL and Self-Help strongly oppose using an individual’s credit scores and credit history as a metric to determine a person’s immigration status. The “public charge” rule is punitive to immigrant families and will contribute to poverty and hardship rather than provide a path to citizenship. Credit scores are designed to predict if a borrower is likely to become 90 days late on a credit obligation. This information is irrelevant in determining a person’s likelihood of becoming dependent on public assistance. Moreover, for any consumer who is new to credit, credit scores fail to reflect the ability to pay a debt. Since the United States’ credit scoring system is unique, there is no way of evaluating the likelihood of delinquency in credit for recent immigrants. 

“Using credit history and credit scores will also have a disparate impact on immigrants of color. These scores are a result from centuries of discrimination in housing, education, and employment. The public charge rule will exacerbate racism and discrimination in an already tense political climate we are facing.”  


Press Contacts:

Vincenza Previte (CRL):

Jenny Shields (Self-Help):

About Self-Help

Self-Help is a leading national community development financial institution headquartered in Durham, NC. Since 1980, Self-Help has provided over $8.5 billion in financing to 150,000 families, individuals and businesses. It helps drive economic development and strengthen communities by providing responsible financial services; lending to individuals, small businesses and nonprofits; developing real estate; and promoting fair financial practices across the nation. Through its credit union network, Self-Help serves over 150,000 people in California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The nonprofit Center for Community Self-Help is the umbrella organization for the Self-Help family of nonprofit organizations, which includes Self-Help Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, Self-Help Ventures Fund and the Center for Responsible Lending.