Yours may be one of thousands of Texas households that include one or more family members who are not U.S. citizens. Immigration law includes processes whereby a U.S. citizen may file a petition to sponsor an immigrant so that he or she may come to live and work in the United States. There's a lot of paperwork involved, as is the case with most immigration applications. It's critical that you understand the requirements and obligations associated with sponsorship, whether you're being sponsored or sponsoring someone.
One thing the U.S. government doesn't take lightly is someone attempting to commit fraud in order to enter or help another person enter the United States without proper documentation. Anyone caught committing such crimes will not only be subject to possible criminal charges but will also be at risk for immediate deportation.
When a U.S. citizen files an Affidavit of Support on behalf of an immigrant, the federal government automatically assumes certain things are true. The following list shows what a sponsor is attesting to when submitting an application to help another person legally enter the United States under a visa based on his or her relationship with that person:
- The sponsor is confirming that he or she understands the submitted application is a legally binding contract.
- The sponsor understands that the purpose of the application is to help an immigrant become a permanent resident of the United States.
- The sponsor must also show evidence that he or she is financially capable of sustaining the immigrant in addition to the rest of his or her household.
- Once a sponsor signs an I-864 form, he or she accepts legal financial responsibility for designated immigrant or immigrants listed on the form.
- The sponsor must also understand that if he or she fails in this financial obligation, the immigrant or immigrants in question may file a lawsuit to obtain the agreed-to financial support.
U.S. immigration law is quite complex and numerous complications may arise when you are navigating the system of immigrant sponsorship or any other immigration process. It can be stressful and, perhaps, a bit frightening to encounter obstacles regarding legal status or validity of sponsorship. It is possible that you could face arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers if the U.S. government suspects that you have participated in a fraudulent scheme.
Support is always available
When you live in Texas or another state, you are afforded due process of law. You have rights, whether or not you are a U.S. citizen. Clerical errors, language barriers, misunderstanding instructions and many other issues can cause legal problems to arise that may be resolvable if you know where to seek legal advocacy.