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Immigration Financial Support - Using the i-864 to transition to self-sufficiency

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A webinar in partnership with End Violence Against Women Now International.

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Immigration Financial Support - Using the i-864 to transition to self-sufficiency

  1. 1. Greg McLawsen Managing attorney Immigration Financial Support Using the I-864 to transition to self- sufficiency
  2. 2. A tool for helping survivors achieve independence
  3. 3. Greg McLawsen Managing attorney
  4. 4. We help greencard holders recover support under the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support www.i-864.net
  5. 5. Based in Tacoma, WA, serving clients nationwide Collaborating with clients’ support team
  6. 6. Overview: 1. What is the Form I-864? 2. The support duty. 3. How much compensation may the immigrant recover? 4. The nuts and bolts of enforcement. 5. Identifying those who could benefit. 6. Helping your clients understand their rights.
  7. 7. What is the Form I-864? A BINDING CONTRACT SIGNED IN ALL FAMILY IMMIGRATION CASES.
  8. 8. Grounds of “inadmissibility.”
  9. 9. Many flavors of inadmissibility. 1.Health-related grounds. 2.Criminal grounds. 3.Security, etc. grounds. 4.Immigration violators. 5.Public charge.
  10. 10. Public charge inadmissibility. “In general. Any alien who, in the opinion of the consular officer at the time of application for a visa, or in the opinion of the Attorney General at the time of application for admission or adjustment of status, is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.”
  11. 11. Remember the 1990s?
  12. 12. Who will be the support net for immigrants? American public? Visa petitioner.
  13. 13. Required in every family-based case.
  14. 14. Who is the sponsor? 1. Primary sponsor – the visa petitioner. 2. Joint sponsor – if visa petitioner has inadequate income.
  15. 15. The support duty. THE SPONSOR’S PROMISE TO PROVIDE INCOME.
  16. 16. First promise Repay “means-tested public benefits.” 1. Food Stamps. 2. Medicaid. 3. Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 4. Not emergency disaster aid (for example).
  17. 17. Suits by the Federal government? (Executive order pending)
  18. 18. Second promise Maintain immigrant’s income at 125% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  19. 19. 125 Federal Poverty Guidelines (2016) Family Size Annual Monthly Weekly 1 $14,850 $1,238 $286 2 $20,025 $1,669 $385 3 $25,200 $2,100 $485 4 $30,375 $2,531 $584 5 $35,550 $2,963 $684 6 $40,725 $3,394 $783 7 $45,913 $3,826 $883 8 $51,113 $4,259 $983 Each Add'l $5,200 $433 $100 $1,238/month Household of one
  20. 20. When does it end? When the immigrant… 1. Becomes citizen. 2. Credited w/ 40-quarters of work. 3. Abandons residency and departs U.S. 4. Deported and gets new sponsor. 5. Dies.
  21. 21. When does it end? Neither divorce nor separation terminates the support duty.
  22. 22. The Form I- 864 is a contract. 1. Contract is between Sponsor and U.S. gov’t 2. Has right to enforce. 3. The I-864 is an enforceable contract. Period.
  23. 23. How much compensation may the immigrant recover? POTENTIALLY ~$1,200 PER MONTH
  24. 24. What compensation may be recovered?
  25. 25. Measure of damages. 125% FPG (household size) per month (-) Actual income = Recovery
  26. 26. Example. 6 months x ($1,238) (household 1) = $7, 428 Plus: order complying sponsor continue support payments.
  27. 27. “Income.” May count as income Probably does not count Employment Gifts from friends/family Payments from sponsor Grant-funded shelter, etc. Arguably means-tested benefits Assets Child support
  28. 28. Is the beneficiary required to seek work? What if she wants to pursue school or English classes instead?
  29. 29. Enforcing the Form I-864 HOW DOES AN IMMIGRANT ENFORCE HER RIGHT TO FINANCIAL SUPPORT FROM THE SPONSOR?
  30. 30. Enforcing the Form I-864. Step (1) – You can always just ask.
  31. 31. What if you do have to go to court?
  32. 32. (Yikes – who pays for all this?) 1. Filing fees normally waived (IFP). 2. No up-front attorney fees (contingent fees). 3. Minimal out-of-pocket costs.
  33. 33. Enforcing the Form I-864. What if your client is getting divorced?
  34. 34. Dissolution case? Matter of Khan 332 P.3d 1016 (Wash. 2014)
  35. 35. Dissolution case? You can try to negotiate it in the family law case, but hard to get a court order.
  36. 36. Federal court.
  37. 37. Federal court. But federal court is not the only option.
  38. 38. Enforcing the Form I-864. This is a “federal law issue” so go to federal court.
  39. 39. Enforcing the Form I-864. “Presumption of concurrency.”
  40. 40. State courts.
  41. 41. State courts. In Washington we generally use Superior Court.
  42. 42. State courts. What about small claims court?
  43. 43. What will the sponsor argue?
  44. 44. Identifying clients who could benefit. SCREEN CLIENTS AT INTAKE TO ASSESS WHETHER THEY MIGHT BE ENTITLED TO SUPPORT.
  45. 45. Number one question! “Are you a U.S. citizen?”
  46. 46. Who is the most likely plaintiff? 1. Greencard holder/“LPR.” 2. Unemployed/under-employed. 3. Challenges transitioning to employment. 4. Divorced or separating. 5. (Often) Short duration marriage. 6. (Often, sadly) Abuse in marriage.
  47. 47. “Conditional” residency. 1.Marriage-based immigrants, marriage 2 years or shorter. 2.2-year “conditional status.” 3.Must file the I-751 in 90- day window before expiration.
  48. 48. So what should I do? 1.Always screen for citizenship. 2.Was she married to a U.S. citizen or immigrate through family? 3.If yes, get free case assessment & opinion at www.i-864.net. Figure out early if there is a possible claim.
  49. 49. How will client recover? 1.Negotiate or litigate pro se. 2.Local non-profit (maybe). 3.Local private counsel. 4.Contact us (www.i-864.net).
  50. 50. More (free) resources: 1.https://i-864.net/resources/for-advocates/ 2.Email or call with any question: support@i-864.net; 1-844-557-3646 3.No confidential information please before running a conflict check.
  51. 51. Questions? Contact us toll-free at 1-844-557-3646 www.i-864.net

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