How to end sponsorship of immigrant
How to end sponsorship of immigrants is the most frequently asked question when a visa petitioner is divorcing the immigrant.
Before getting into how to end sponsorship of immigrants, let clarify who is the sponsor and why the sponsor is necessary for bringing a foreign citizen into the country.
The sponsor is one who signs an affidavit of support, Form I-864. The purpose of such an affidavit is to assure that the USA citizen who petitions to bring someone in the USA takes responsibilities that the immigrant would not be burdensome for the society. A sponsor could be a fiancée, husband, wife, child, parent. If the visa petitioner’s income is not sufficient, a Joint sponsor can come to play. A joint sponsor could be a family member as well or friend The main duty of the sponsor is to maintain immigrant’s income at 125% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.
The general 5 answers on how to end sponsorship of immigrant are:
1. When the immigrant becomes a citizen.
2. The immigrant credited w/ 40-quarters of work.
3.Abandons residency and departs U.S.
4.Deported and got a new sponsor.
How to end sponsorship of immigrants in a divorce?
The basic answer is neither divorce or separation terminates the sponsorship support duty.
Moreover, unlike regular spousal support which terminated upon re-marriage of supporting spouse, sponsorship of an immigrant does not terminate upon even remarriage for that matter.
When a sponsor signs an affidavit of support, I-864 , she/he enters with a contract with the USA government.
The Beneficiary of this contract is an immigrant, as a 3rd-party beneficiary with standing.
The phrase “with standing means “ can sue on the breach of the contract.
The I-864 is an enforceable contract and could be enforced by the beneficiary or in theory the government. Affidavit of Support allows the USA government to sue the sponsor for reimbursement of government benefits paid to the immigrant. Although enforcement has many special challenges.
Enforcing the Affidavit of Support, Form I-864.
The first challenge is that this enforcing the Affidavit of Support is a “federal law issue” so an attorney needs to go to federal court. Another interesting point is that it shall be an action in civil court. The question is then what damages may be recovered? Usually, it is 125% FPG (household size) per month minus the actual income of the immigrant.
How to end sponsorship of immigrant in divorce asserting some defenses.
The former spouse of an immigrant might try to argue that the marriage was fraudulent. So far, the case law shows that such a defense is not satisfactory for the court. If the sponsor has evidence of fraudulent
inducement, “he/she has borne the risk of being fraudulently induced into sponsoring someone, and must satisfy his financial obligations regardless.”
Another challenge of How to end sponsorship of immigrant is that Immigration attorneys don’t handle civil litigation. Civil matter attorneys and divorce attorneys hardly ever have immigration expertise. You need both to handle these cases.