Visit us on Linked-in Visit us on Twitter Visit us on Facebook Directions to Our Office Visit us on Yelp
Free Consultation

Risks & Rewards of Sponsoring an Immigrant in the United States

In December 2023, a group of Republican senators sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to address an immigration issue related to the sponsorship of migrant children by American families. The letter expressed opposition to a proposed rule that would reduce the scrutiny and vetting of families who wish to care for children abandoned at the border. Sponsorship of unaccompanied migrant children is a relatively new phenomenon for the American immigration system. It’s one of various situations that require an involved party before legal status can be adjudicated.

What Immigration Sponsorship Means

Sponsors are required to take an active or passive role in the immigration process across various visa categories. Active sponsorship is involved when an individual or organization must submit a petition. The most common example would be American citizens or legal residents who wish to bring foreign partners to the U.S. for marriage. The same can be said about employer-sponsored petitions. San Diego residents and other American employers who wish to hire skilled foreign workers can do so under the H-1B visa program. Passive sponsorship is when someone other than the petitioner files a Form I-864A, Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member, to provide additional financial support when the petitioner’s income is insufficient.

Types of Immigration Sponsorship Situations

All family-based immigration benefits require active sponsorship. Most employment-based visas fall under the non-immigrant category, so they certainly need active sponsors who have financial stakes in the issuance of the visas. Special visa categories such as the EB-5 investor program require active and closely involved sponsorship throughout the process. Emerging humanitarian visa programs for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela also call for active sponsors, and these specific situations are often handled by nonprofit organizations.

Passive sponsorship is mainly associated with family-based petitions that fall below the financial guidelines set by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which are calculated by multiplying the federal poverty level by 125% to account for the additional requirement for immigrant sponsors. In situations that involve the relocation of war refugees or asylum seekers, HHS may act as a passive sponsor or seek third parties who can fulfill this commitment.

Pros & Cons of Immigration Sponsorship

As long as petitioners have good reasons for actively sponsoring immigrants, the net benefit of sponsorship is undeniable. When the sponsors are the petitioners, their active roles extend beyond filing Affidavits of Support. They’re expected to complete other forms, go through background checks, and ensure their finances are in order so they can step in to support immigrants when the need arises.

Passive sponsors who file via Form I-864A don’t have to undergo background checks or be present at USCIS interview appointments. In fact, they don’t even have to provide any financial support unless the petitioner falls on hard times. The net benefit for passive sponsors is that they get to help relatives or friends. The only downside for active sponsors is that they have to go through the petition process. If the immigrant works and is self-sufficient, neither active nor passive sponsors have anything to worry about. 

If you would like more information about sponsoring an immigrant or you need the services of reliable, trustworthy immigration lawyers in San Diego, CA, reach out to KS Visa Law today. Call us to schedule a free consultation.

June 2024