With controversy raging over the future of the “Dreamers” and the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions is placing itself firmly on the side of immigrants.

In a statement released today, the Federation declared that it “stands in solidarity with Dreamers and with community development,” emphasizing that “America is a country of immigrants and serving immigrants is a part of the history of the credit union movement. Immigrants contribute to local economies by paying taxes, starting small businesses and creating jobs. Dreamers, undocumented young people who are in the U.S. through no fault of their own, deserve our protection today while a longer-term solution for citizenship can be forged in Congress.”

Many during the course of the last decade have touted Hispanic consumers as one of the next major growth markets for credit unions, and the Federation has been at the forefront of the push to serve those consumers. One venue for that has been the Juntos Avanzamos program (Spanish for “Together We Advance”), which now counts nearly 70 credit unions as members and provides loans and banking services to Hispanic consumers, many of them immigrants.

According to data from the Federation, 46 million Americans are immigrants – 13 percent of the population, or one out of every eight people – and they account for more than 20 percent of all small business owners. In addition to working with credit unions, the Federation has also posted information on its website to help immigrants keep their money safe and understand their rights.

A young member of Rio Grande CU, a CDFi and Juntos Avanzamos-designated credit union.
A young member of Rio Grande CU, a CDFi and Juntos Avanzamos-designated credit union. National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions

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