On October 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking governing the “Affidavit of Support” requirements under section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Certain immigrants seeking to come to the United States are required to submit an Affidavit of Support signed by a sponsor who agrees to provide financial support to the sponsored immigrant. The Proposed Rule would impose onerous requirements on petitioning sponsors and joint sponsors, thereby making it more difficult for many noncitizens to immigrate to or remain in the United States, which can in turn have the negative effect of separating, or prolonging the separation of, immigrant families.
Among other sweeping changes, the Proposed Rule would impose the following burdens on potential financial sponsors and joint sponsors:
- The sponsor must find a joint sponsor if (i) he or she used any amount of means-tested public benefits during the three years prior to submitting the Affidavit of Support, or (ii) the petitioning sponsor had a judgment entered against him or her at any time for failing to meet any prior sponsorship or household member obligation.
- An individual cannot be a joint sponsor if (i) he or she has received means-tested public benefits during the previous three years, or (ii) had a judgment entered against him or her for failure to meet sponsor or household member obligations.
- Sponsors must comply with burdensome and intrusive requests for sensitive personal information, including three years of bank account and tax documentation.
- Significant limitations will be placed on the class of people who can be considered “household members” for purposes of adding their incomes to the sponsor’s income. For example, to combine the intending immigrant’s income with the sponsor’s, the immigrant and the sponsor must plan to live in the same household.