The Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens

During the spring, the Trump administration issued the Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens, which served to update the regulations for compliance with the law. The memorandum also helps to make sure that those ineligible for immigration status do not receive federal benefits.

This is very important news for anyone planning to sponsor an immigrant. Your affidavit of support means that you are, in effect, “co-signing” for that person. Your signature makes you responsible for the immigrant financially – should they require assistance after arriving in America, it is you that will have to provide the funds or reimburse the government for providing assistance to the person you sponsored.

While the memorandum is new, the ideology behind it is not. In force since 1977, section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that sponsors are responsible for the cost of any means-tested benefits (such as food stamps and health care) that the immigrant procures.

Although this law was very rarely enforced in the past, the Trump administration has made it clear that they now intend to enforce this rule. If sponsoring an immigrant, be very sure that they – or you – have the financial means to ensure they do not wind up relying on government benefits. Failure to observe this will cost you.

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