Risks of sponsoring an immigrant – General Consideration
Risks of sponsoring an immigrant come from the serious responsibility you are taking by signing an affidavit of support. Let look in more detail what is an affidavit of support and when do you need to sign it. I-864 is a form formally known as an affidavit of support. When you apply for a US visa, sometimes you need an affidavit of support, but not in all cases. Affidavit of support needed only if the USA government believes the new coming resident might not have sufficient funds to support himself/herself.
The typical example relevant to this discussion is a fiancé visa or a spouse’s visa. USA citizen or green card holder may petition to bring his/ her fiancé into the USA and must sign the affidavit of support.
Risks of sponsoring an immigrant are imposed because if a sponsor signs the affidavit of support, he accepts legal responsibility for supporting the immigrant unless the immigrant becomes a citizen or has 40 quarters of work. One quarters of work is approximately three months
Risks of sponsoring an immigrant – from Government AND Immigrant
Risks of sponsoring an immigrant after signing an affidavit of support appear from the contractual relationship between the sponsor and the government. This contract will be enforceable in the court of law and the government may sue the sponsor for failing to provide support to the immigrant. The risks of sponsoring an immigrant is high because there are more obligations on the person who signs an affidavit than on the immigrant. The immigrant may quit a job filing a lawsuit against the sponsor requesting support.
Risks of sponsoring an immigrant can come in multiple ways. There is a possibility that the government will file a law suite against in order to reimburse a public agency providing a benefit sponsor, it can collect enough money to reimburse any public agency providing benefits to the immigrant. There is a possibility that the immigrant will file a law suite sues to collect money to up to 125% Poverty Guidelines less than an immigrant’s income.
There are no many suites were filed by the government in the past. However, under recent”Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements” , agencies would be more active in search for sponsor contact information to held them liable for the help they are providing to immigrant.
Risks of sponsoring an immigrant are so serious that even if the sponsor would file bankruptcy, it would not release him from the liability.
Risks of sponsoring an immigrant during a divorce
It is important to know that divorce will not terminate your financial responsibilities to support immigrant. As we have mentioned above if your immigrant spouse becomes a citizen unless or move out of the USA, it is terminated. I-864 states clearly that even if you are divorcing the sponsor’s obligations are not terminated
California community property law give the spouses right and duty to be supported and to support to be supported during the marriage. Under California law the obligation to support would also continue if certain factors are satisfied. Some of the major factors are how long was the marriage, what are spouses income, health, marketable skill, ability to earn money ext.. We had discussion regarding this in our page
Risks of sponsoring an immigrant in short term marriage
The most important case regarding Risks of sponsoring an immigrant during divorce is In re Marriage of Kumar because it significantly changes the standards a court would normally apply. It is especially critical in short term marriages. Long term marriage is generally ten years or more. Short term marriage is less than 10 years. In general if length of the marriage is less than 10 years, spousal support will be paid for half the length of the marriage. Under Kumar case, there is another obligation in addition to California community. This obligation arises when the sponsor is signing I-864. The sponsor of immigrant still provide a spousal support regardless of the length of the marriage as until as we stated above the immigrant becomes a citizen or has 40 quarters of work.
Moreover, under California law, the spouse needs to mitigate the damages and place the best effort to become self-supported. There is no such duty to mitigate under I-864.