My sister in law asked if my husband and I would sponsor her husband for his green card. While we support him gaining citizenship, he is under amnesty right now, but becoming fully responsible for another person is something we are concerned with as we are trying to expand our family. Would we be responsible for their bills, if he defaulted on their rent, would we be held legally responsible to pay it? Would his children not be able to receive Medicaid because of our sponsorship? Would if affect our taxes at all? We make above the poverty line, but are just now getting ourselves out of debt and on our own feet.
First, he's not going to get citizenship, he'll only get a greencard. But, once he gets citizenship (3-5 years after the greencard is approved) you' be off the 'hook' with the i-864.
No, you won't be responsible for his rent. But HE can't get any 'means test-based' government benefits.
Yes, his kids, if US citizens can get medicaid & other ;benefits' if they qualify.
All your other questions would be best discussed in a private, paid, consultation with an immigration attorney.
PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.
You do not become fully responsible for him. It is primarily for the government to demand reimbursement if he tries to get public benefits. And there is a minimal support clause if he were to become destitute. You are not responsible for his bills. 99% of people who joint sponsor the affidavit know the person well, or know his/her spouse and see that they are trustworthy people. And it can be a helping hand to a sister - on her own she may not be making enough money - but when her husband has a work permit, suddenly their family is pulled out of poverty, they can afford healthcare etc - and then the affidavit is just a piece of paper that makes a big difference to a relative you care about. But it is a personal decision to be made carefully.
I agree with Attorney Bartlett, it's just a way for the government to make sure he does not become a public charge (on welfare) or homeless. Either way, you should not make such a decision lightly and you should only do it for people in whom you have a certain degree of trust.
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