Trump Administration Issues Memo to Enforce Reimbursement Obligations of I-864 Sponsors


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The Trump administration is mobilizing to strictly enforce laws that require the reimbursement of funds from an alien’s financial sponsor, where the alien has requested certain types of public benefits from a government agency.

The White House has issued a memorandum stating that, “Financial sponsors who pledge to financially support a sponsored alien in the event the alien applies for or receives public benefits will be expected to fulfill their commitment under the law.”

Financial sponsors are required to sign Form I-864 Affidavit of Support for most family-based immigrant petitions, as well as some employment-based petitions to show that the intending immigrant has adequate means of financial support and will not become a public charge on the United States government.

The White House has directed various government agencies including the Department of labor, housing, health and human services, etc. to hold sponsors accountable for making a financial commitment to sponsor an alien in the United States, who receives forms of government assistance they are not entitled to receive.

Such benefits that will require reimbursement from a financial sponsor are benefits received from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which provides food stamps, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The White House has asked appropriate government agencies to update or issue procedures, guidance, and regulations within 90 days to ensure compliance with the law. These procedures will prevent non-citizens from receiving these public benefits and seek reimbursement from financial sponsors where public benefits were disseminated by the government.

Statutory exceptions exist for special classes of aliens including aliens battered or subject to extreme cruelty, aliens who would be unable to obtain food or shelter without the public benefits, children and pregnant women lawfully residing in the United States and receiving medical assistance from a State under the Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid, and aliens receiving SNAP benefits who are members of the sponsor’s household or are under 18 years old.

To read the White House memorandum please click here.