USCIS Form Change Proposals Add Needless Complications
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 12, 2020 – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced plans to require U.S. citizens who sponsor their family members for permanent resident cards to provide bank account details.
According to an April 10, 2020, notice in the Federal Register, the agency will add sections to the required Affidavit of Support documents in which sponsors must supply their bank account information. Under the proposed changes the Affidavit of Support forms will also need to be notarized before being submitted to USCIS. Sponsors are already required to include information about Affidavits submitted in the past. They also have the option to present a credit report as evidence.
“Adding bank account-related information to the Affidavit of Support and requiring signatures before notaries public add nothing of substantive benefit to ‘assure the rule of law’ as President Trump’s Executive Order of May 23, 2019 purports,” commented Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “Sponsors already submit tax returns and other documentation with the Affidavit, and have signed the Affidavit of support under penalty of perjury, which is equivalent to a signature before a notary. So why add these small burdens? Maybe the reason isn’t substantive. Rather, these changes fit well if one assumes that the harder the Administration makes the legal immigration process, the easier it is to deny a case for petty, technical reasons. And denying more cases limits legal immigration. The Administration by these little added burdens can accomplish its restrictive goal without a change in statute, and without a change in regulations. Death by a thousand little cuts.”
USCIS claimed the new requirements and modified language throughout the forms are intended to make the sponsor’s obligations clearer in line with President Trump’s May 23, 2019, memo. The agency stated that a sponsor’s submission of an Affidavit of Support establishes a contract with the federal government in which the sponsor is “liable for any reimbursement obligation” that results from a sponsored relative receiving means-tested public benefits. The proposed changes were open to a 30-day comment period that ended on May 11, 2020.