by Farhad Sethna, Attorney ©2018
The USA used to be a “government of laws, not of men.” But ever since the change in Administration, the “law” part has been left behind, in favor of men making arbitrary decisions affecting those too weak or unable to fight back.
Take the latest saga:
Used to be that a US citizen sponsor could show his or her income on an Affidavit of Support (form I-864) to support the immigration of an alien relative to the USA. If the US citizen sponsor could not show enough income (affidavit of support rules are complex, please contact an attorney to evaluate your own situation), then a co-sponsor could provide a supporting supplementary affidavit.
In the latest twist, even if an affidavit of support is sufficient to vouch for an immigrant’s sponsorship, the US Department of State will still deny the immigrant visa if:
(A) It would appear that (no criteria mentioned) the co-sponsor or joint sponsor would fail to support the alien; or
(B) There was any instance in the last 3 years of any of the co-sponsor’s family having taken public assistance (and that includes aid to families with dependent children who are US Citizens!)
Thus, if a sponsor’s family member has taken any form of need-based government assistance in the last 3 years, the sponsor’s affidavit may be deemed to be insufficient and the alien will NOT be permitted to immigrate to the USA on the support of that particular sponsorship.
What is critical to note is that the prior rule (strict interpretation of the sponsor’s income alone) has been replaced by an arbitrary pair of guidelines – first, the consular officer’s unilateral subjective decision that the sponsor – for whatever reason – will not live up to the obligations under the affidavit of support; and second, even if the sponsor demonstrates good faith and intent to support the alien, that the sponsor or his or her immediate family took public assistance from the US government at some time over the last three years.
So – be warned – individuals needing a sponsor or co-sponsor to support form I-864 – the affidavit of support – must ensure that their sponsor, however, well-meaning, meet both the tests outlined above.
About the author:
Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 25 years. He was awarded his JD in 1990 and his MBA in 1991, both from the University of Akron. Since 1996, he has also been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio, where he wrote and used his own immigration textbook. Attorney Sethna is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. He has won awards for excellence in teaching and for pro-bono service. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and New Philadelphia, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases before federal agencies and the immigration courts nationwide. A private pilot, it is Farhad’s goal to fly to each of Ohio’s 88 county airports. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible.
This is only general legal information. Please consult a qualified immigration attorney for advice on your specific case.