The White House recently issued a memorandum on the enforcement of legal responsibilities of immigrant sponsors & joint sponsors. The memo directs relevant federal agencies to update procedures, guidance, and regulations to comply with current law and ensure that ineligible immigrants do not receive federal means-tested benefits.
So, what this means is, when you sponsor an alien, and you sign the affidavit of support, you are telling the government that you are vouching for that alien, and reassuring the government that you are financially responsible for that alien, and guaranteeing that they will not become a public charge, or receive any means tested benefits.
This has already been law since 1997 under section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. By signing an affidavit of support, you are telling the government if this alien ever goes on food stamps, or Medicaid, or any Federal means-tested benefits, the government can come after YOU to reimburse the treasury for those expenses.
While it’s already law, in practice, this has historically rarely, if ever, been enforced. With this new update, the Administration is making its intentions clear to start enforcing this rule. All sponsors and joint sponsors should take this into consideration when signing an affidavit of support, and understand the magnitude of the decision to sign it. When we hear any new developments on this, we will be sure to bring it to you here.