Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member [Updated]

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Rayandron
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Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member [Updated]

Post by Rayandron »

From 2012 to 2017, I developed a strong professional relationship with an immigrant, let's call him Juan. In his home country, Juan worked for the government in an anti-narcotics role, and he was forced to flee when the narcos figured out his identity. He left his ex-wife and 2 kids behind. I have seen pictures of him from this time that would seem to verify these details.

I attended Juan's wedding to an American citizen in 2016. After 2017 I stopped working as closely with him due to me changing fields, but he would call me to catch up occasionally. In 2018 he had a knee injury at work that prevented him from working and caused him to go on worker's compensation for a time. This reduced his family's income and he felt compelled by the circumstances to ask me for a $1,500 loan to help pay for his immigration attorney bills to help him get a permanent residence card.

Financially, my family is comfortable enough that losing $1,500 would be annoying, but pose no real risk to our long-term financial security. My wife and I decided we were willing to write a $1,500 check directly to his immigration attorney, and Juan and his wife were extremely appreciative. Juan and his wife asked me how long they could have to pay us back, but I did not feel comfortable putting a time table on it with him on crutches from knee surgery and an unknown return date to work. Additionally, I figured he was either going to pay me back or not, and it was a small enough amount of money that a contract or deadlines wasn't really going to be helpful to anybody. To date, Juan and his wife have made two $500 payments towards repaying the loan.

Yesterday, Juan called me and shared some unfortunate news. His son from his prior marriage is quite sick (I don't know what kind of sickness yet), and he wants to bring his son to the US for medical treatment that isn't available in his home country. Unfortunately, he and his wife do not have high enough income for their current family size (2 kids) to sponsor his son from the prior marriage. I believe his income is probably about $50,000 under normal circumstances, but I suspect his 2018 income was lower due to the knee injury putting him out of work for 6 months or so. I would guess his wife's income is perhaps $30-35k, but I don't really know.

Juan has asked if my wife and I would be willing to co-sponsor his son for immigration. I really want to help him, but I am scared that in doing so I could be signing up to pay some unknown quantity of medical bills that could seriously jeopardize my family's security.

I've done google-searching on the topic and I plan to talk to an immigration attorney about the risks of co-sponsorship, but I want to cast a wide net when trying to understand this request. Are there any "I am not a lawyer" experts who can shed some insight on the specific risks (and most importantly, their financial size) I would be taking by co-sponsoring Juan's son?
Last edited by Rayandron on Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
7eight9
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by 7eight9 »

Affidavit of Support
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support under Section 213A of the INA, is a contract an individual signs agreeing to use their financial resources to support the intending immigrant named on the affidavit. The individual who signs the affidavit of support becomes the sponsor once the intending immigrant becomes a lawful permanent resident. The sponsor is usually the petitioner who filed an immigrant petition on behalf of the intending immigrant.

An affidavit of support is a legally enforceable contract, and the sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or is credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years).

The law concerning the affidavit of support is found in Sections 212(a)(4) and 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The provisions are codified in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 8 CFR 213a.

Joint Sponsor
A joint sponsor is someone who is willing to accept legal responsibility for supporting your family member with you. A joint sponsor must meet all the same requirements as you, except the joint sponsor does not need to be related to the immigrant. The joint sponsor (or the joint sponsor and his or her household) must reach the 125% income requirement alone. You cannot combine your income with that of a joint sponsor to meet the income requirement.

https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/affidavit-support
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codedude
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by codedude »

Ray,

This would be exposing yourself to unlimited financial liability.

If a treatment is not available in your friend’s country, he should explore if it is available in a neighboring country.
cognovimus
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by cognovimus »

I would have to decline this, unless I were very wealthy or very close to this family.

These requests are becoming more common for those of us who live in communities with large immigrant groups:

-- a friend of my adult daughter's asked my daughter to sponsor her fiance from another country. Daughter declined. Friend and immigrant later split. Can you imagine being legally obligated to support your friend's fiance after they broke up?

-- a student of mine asked for me to sign as his sponsor, said he had the money, I wouldn't need to do anything. As you can read, that's not the way the law works. I declined.
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galawdawg
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by galawdawg »

If they cannot afford to finish repaying your $1,500 loan and cannot afford to bring his son to the US for medical treatment, he can't afford the medical bills. He is essentially asking you to co-sign a $50,000 plus loan that he has little or no apparent ability to repay.
Rayandron wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:25 pm I really want to help him, but I am scared that in doing so I could be signing up to pay some unknown quantity of medical bills that could seriously jeopardize my family's security.
Yes, that is exactly what you would be doing.
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HueyLD
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by HueyLD »

Why would anyone volunteer to take on unlimited potential liability under such a circumstance?

Think about your own financial security first because you do not have enough resources to fight the USCIS that has unlimited budget. Good gosh, have you ever heard of this expression "no good deed goes unpunished?"
ohai
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by ohai »

This sounds like an incredibly bad idea for you.
jminv
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by jminv »

No, don't do this. You are opening yourself up to unlimited financial liability for up to 10 years. Doubly no since it's explicit that the reason to bring this child to the usa is to make use of public benefits not available in his home country. The child won't be working but will be receiving health care and I'm sure whatever other public benefits he can apply for. This could be ruinously expensive if they actually come after you. By signing this, there is also no incentive for him to not be a public ward, since you are independently liable so if your friend can't or won't not pay, you'll still be responsible for everything. This is a huge ask for someone who isn't family and more of an acquaintance than friend.

Your friend should be able to do this himself with his wife. He needs to show 125% of poverty income for his household size. Family of 4 would be something like $32,187 but I guess 5 now so $37,712.

If you really want to help and their income is close to the level but not quite you could gift/lend him 5 times the difference so that he could qualify on his own. They can use the net value of their car and house since those are assets. If they own a house, it's the appraised value - debt that counts and some appraisals are quite optimistic.

"If an immigrant you sponsored receives any means-tested public benefits, you are responsible for repaying the cost of those benefits to the agency that provided them. If you do not repay the debt, the agency or the immigrant can sue you in court to get the money owed. Any joint sponsors and household members who allowed the sponsor to combine their income with the sponsor’s income to meet the minimum income requirements are also legally responsible for financially supporting the sponsored immigrant. In fact, any joint sponsor and household member is jointly or severally liable with the petitioning sponsor, meaning that the joint sponsor and household member are independently liable for the full extent of the reimbursement obligation and can be sued in court or be asked to pay the money owed, even if the petitioning sponsor is not sued or asked for money."
Last edited by jminv on Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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celia
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by celia »

Not only would you be responsible for supporting him, but, technically, you are supposed to re-pay any government benefits he receives. This could include college financial aid, free/reduced meals, SNAP food vouchers, section 8 housing, Medicaid, and an unending array of programs.
(from above link) wrote:If an immigrant you sponsored receives any means-tested public benefits, you are responsible for repaying the cost of those benefits to the agency that provided them.
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FGal
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by FGal »

You knew this guy for 5 years as a coworker, lost touch but for occasional catch up calls and he hits you up for $1,500. Which you gave him.

Now he is tapping you again for something that could potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars not to mention legal issues that you could become entangled in? If he was a close friend/family member they were asking you to sponsor... maybe?

Just say no. This is not that kind of relationship. They knew you were a soft touch to have given the money based off a distant relationship. It is not normal or appropriate for him to have asked this of you, but he's hoping you're going to do it and since you've already opened the door to the idea by "lending" him money (which he has not paid back in full).

This is... so beyond the pale to ask of a person that doesn't know the family member, you yourself state you haven't really had more than some phone calls since you stopped working with Juan, and really even the money request is kind of bizarre since he should have family, current coworkers, probably church and local community members that he is in regular contact with rather than looking up an old work friend and sticking your hand in their pocket...

This is kind of a classic thing people with entitlement issues or boundary issues do. They ask for a small amount to test the waters. Once you give them anything, it starts a cycle of them using you for the same in the future, and because you said yes to them before, you're more inclined to do so again and again. It is a psychological quirk that makes YOU feel bad for saying no since you've already said yes to them before, and dishonest people or those lacking real boundaries/entitlement issues know how to play people that are too nice to shut them down. Unless you nip this in the bud, you'll have to deal with the ever-increasing requests and likely your own guilt for not complying to hang over your head.

He may be a good person, but this co-sponsoring thing is just not something you ask of a former work acquaintance, and you should not feel badly for telling him that as much as you sympathize with the circumstances, you are unable to help him further or in this way. Tell him that you forgive the remaining $500, but that's all you can do now, and wish him well... then block/ghost any further communication from him.

Consider it a small price to pay to not be on the hook for further requests to help/loan people money or put yourself into a very precarious position for someone you don't even really know.
Last edited by FGal on Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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stoptothink
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by stoptothink »

This is worse (far worse) than the recent "should my wife loan her employee $4k?" thread.
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celia
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by celia »

Rayandron wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:25 pm In his home country, Juan worked for the government in an anti-narcotics role, and he was forced to flee when the narcos figured out his identity.
His story sounded fishy to me from the very beginning unless you misunderstood something. If he worked for the government in anti-narcotics, he WAS THE NARC (undercover policeman).
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galawdawg
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by galawdawg »

celia wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:47 pm
Rayandron wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:25 pm In his home country, Juan worked for the government in an anti-narcotics role, and he was forced to flee when the narcos figured out his identity.
His story sounded fishy to me from the very beginning unless you misunderstood something. If he worked for the government in anti-narcotics, he WAS THE NARC (undercover policeman).
Emphasis added.

Narcos is a popular term for those in Mexico (and perhaps other Latin American country) who are larger scale distributors of narcotics.
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alpine_boglehead
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by alpine_boglehead »

You must be a kind person to have loaned him the money and now are considering such a big support. Such people often get taken advantage of. Already having helped him once, you must feel a strong urge to help him again.

Your primary concern should be the safety and well-being of your own family. Who will help you if this puts you into financial trouble?

Unless you're totally okay (which obviously you are not) with giving away potentially lots of money (which you might otherwise need, e.g. for your retirement or your kid's education), don't do this. Saying no in such cases is hard from an emotional perspective for good-hearted persons, but saying yes will put you into an obligation you have no control over.

As you know Juan better this is probably legitimate, but this still sounds 100% like the classic scammer trick - "I have a sick relative who has an urgent medical need" repeated with increasing amounts.
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Raymond
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Raymond »

celia wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:47 pm
Rayandron wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:25 pm In his home country, Juan worked for the government in an anti-narcotics role, and he was forced to flee when the narcos figured out his identity.
His story sounded fishy to me from the very beginning unless you misunderstood something. If he worked for the government in anti-narcotics, he WAS THE NARC (undercover policeman).
Different language - "narcos" is derived from narcotraficantes in Spanish, or "drug traffickers".
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bernoulli
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by bernoulli »

You and your wife are very nice folks for doing this. I wish I had friends like you (some of my friends might loan me money, but I have not asked).

Please do not do this. The replies have said it all. You don't know Juan very well for very long and you want to be on the hook for potentially unlimited medical cost?

Financial support is required for any immigrant to be admitted into the country precisely to prevent the situation that an immigrant arrives and immediately draws on the resources that the taxpayers provide. Please understand that I am merely explaining the reason behind the financial support affidavit, and not making a value judgment here. Technically speaking, when an immigrant uses any public benefit - even food stamp, the government has the right to go after the financial support declarant for restitution of the benefit. The government does not enforce the financial support affidavit in most circumstances because the cost of enforcement is greatly outweighed by any potential gain from enforcement. In your case, however, the person is not getting food stamp but urgently needs medical care and will have no choice but to rely on Medicaid and/or the state specific health benefit for the indigent. This opens up an endless liability for you.

In the cases I have seen, the financial support affidavit is always signed by a close family member for this very reason of the high risk the signatory takes on. Family members that are not so immediate - like a cousin or something, would not even do it. You are a friend from work - some friends I grew up with I feel they are family, but not friends from work.

Bottom line, I think you and your wife are so kind and so conscientious. If Juan is your true friend worthy of your high opinion of him, he would understand why you are unable to help him. Moreover, if I were in his shoes, I'd be appreciative that a friend would even consider (very seriously) this request that is a lot to ask - on top of still owing money to this friend.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Arlington2019 »

Be also aware of the new changes to the 'public charge' rule. In a nutshell, if an immigrant uses public services such as welfare, medical, or cash assistance, this will be taken into account when the immigrant applies for permanent or citizen status. The unspoken implication is that if you use governmental assistance, you will be turned down for citizenship.

In response, many current immigrants are going off the welfare, public medical assistance and other benefits now because they are afraid the government will deny them citizenship and eventually deport them. What this means for the OP is that if he sponsors someone and they subsequently get on and then go off public assistance, the OP will be on the hook for the expenses. The affidavit of responsibility referenced earlier for that same concept was not enforced very much in the past. But expect that and the public charge rule to be much more strictly enforced in the future.
jminv
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by jminv »

Arlington2019 wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:15 am Be also aware of the new changes to the 'public charge' rule. In a nutshell, if an immigrant uses public services such as welfare, medical, or cash assistance, this will be taken into account when the immigrant applies for permanent or citizen status. The unspoken implication is that if you use governmental assistance, you will be turned down for citizenship.

In response, many current immigrants are going off the welfare, public medical assistance and other benefits now because they are afraid the government will deny them citizenship and eventually deport them. What this means for the OP is that if he sponsors someone and they subsequently get on and then go off public assistance, the OP will be on the hook for the expenses. The affidavit of responsibility referenced earlier for that same concept was not enforced very much in the past. But expect that and the public charge rule to be much more strictly enforced in the future.
The immigrant can also independently sue the sponsor for financial support in the form of 125% of the federal poverty level (not just paying public benefit debt). They don't have to even sue the other sponsor, they can just sue you. Even if they do sue their sponsor, if there's nothing there, you get to pay for everything. There's case law for this, it has happened before so it's not inconceivable that a lawyer could suggest to the immigrant that they go this route at some point. It's not just the theoretical possibility of repayment of public benefits to a governmental agency. Side agreements not to do this will not fly. The form you are signing also has a provision that if the immigrant sues you for support and you lose, you get to pay all legal fees - this means that an immigration lawyer will take this on contingency. This is why people use family for this since no one else in their right mind would agree to sign something that opens you up to unlimited financial obligations that could be enforced more stringently at a governmental level and can be enforced whenever the immigrant chooses to do so.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by cherijoh »

Rayandron wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:25 pm From 2012 to 2017, I developed a strong professional relationship with an immigrant, let's call him Juan. In his home country, Juan worked for the government in an anti-narcotics role, and he was forced to flee when the narcos figured out his identity. He left his ex-wife and 2 kids behind. I have seen pictures of him from this time that would seem to verify these details.

I attended Juan's wedding to an American citizen in 2016. After 2017 I stopped working as closely with him due to me changing fields, but he would call me to catch up occasionally. In 2018 he had a knee injury at work that prevented him from working and caused him to go on worker's compensation for a time. This reduced his family's income and he felt compelled by the circumstances to ask me for a $1,500 loan to help pay for his immigration attorney bills to help him get a permanent residence card.

Financially, my family is comfortable enough that losing $1,500 would be annoying, but pose no real risk to our long-term financial security. My wife and I decided we were willing to write a $1,500 check directly to his immigration attorney, and Juan and his wife were extremely appreciative. Juan and his wife asked me how long they could have to pay us back, but I did not feel comfortable putting a time table on it with him on crutches from knee surgery and an unknown return date to work. Additionally, I figured he was either going to pay me back or not, and it was a small enough amount of money that a contract or deadlines wasn't really going to be helpful to anybody. To date, Juan and his wife have made two $500 payments towards repaying the loan.

Yesterday, Juan called me and shared some unfortunate news. His son from his prior marriage is quite sick (I don't know what kind of sickness yet), and he wants to bring his son to the US for medical treatment that isn't available in his home country. Unfortunately, he and his wife do not have high enough income for their current family size (2 kids) to sponsor his son from the prior marriage. I believe his income is probably about $50,000 under normal circumstances, but I suspect his 2018 income was lower due to the knee injury putting him out of work for 6 months or so. I would guess his wife's income is perhaps $30-35k, but I don't really know.

Juan has asked if my wife and I would be willing to co-sponsor his son for immigration. I really want to help him, but I am scared that in doing so I could be signing up to pay some unknown quantity of medical bills that could seriously jeopardize my family's security.

I've done google-searching on the topic and I plan to talk to an immigration attorney about the risks of co-sponsorship, but I want to cast a wide net when trying to understand this request. Are there any "I am not a lawyer" experts who can shed some insight on the specific risks (and most importantly, their financial size) I would be taking by co-sponsoring Juan's son?
I think you did a wonderful thing in terms of loaning him the money for his immigration attorney. Since he's paid back 2/3 of the loan, I'm willing to absolve him of the bad intentions mentioned by other posters. I think desparate parents will try just about anything to help their sick children. But I also think this is an incredibly bad idea and could open you up to huge financial risks. If I were you, I'd forgive the remaining $500 of debt, but explain to him that co-sponsoring his son could leave you liable for his son's medical bills which would put your family's future at risk. Therefore, you won't be able to help him further.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Strayshot »

There is absolutely no way I would do this.
California88
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by California88 »

I think it's "fishy" that he didn't even tell you the son's medical problem - in a few words (not all kinds of details).
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LiveSimple
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by LiveSimple »

Do not sponsor, help in any other way possible .
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by ladycat »

Maybe Juan could look into some type of medical charity to obtain care for his child, either in the US or abroad.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by HomeStretch »

In addition to all the other financial repercussions mentioned, what if the immigrant has any sort of judgment against them (creditor, civil suit, car accident, etc.)? It’s possible the sponsor could be on the hook for this too.

OP, you have received a lot of feedback. If you are still tempted to agree to be a co-sponsor, suggest you talk with an experienced attorney.
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Rayandron
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Rayandron »

Thank you all for the feedback here and via PM. Sounds like my fears of near-unlimited risk are well-founded, which is unfortunate. We could afford to gift Juan significantly more than $1,500 I loaned him, but I am not on track to be "retire with a 2% safe withdrawal rate" wealthy either. I still plan to talk to an immigration attorney, but it sounds like the conversation may need to be oriented around finding another way to help him/his family.

I am surprised so many seem to think poorly of Juan. I have personally seen him work extremely hard over a multi-year period to make the best of the cards life has dealt him. He's always done it with a smile on his face and without trying to take shortcuts (and no, I don't consider asking for a loan to pay for an immigration attorney to stay in the US after suffering an injury to be a shortcut; it's desperation). The guy could really use a break; I'm just not sure how to help him find one.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by fru-gal »

Rayandron wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:26 pm Thank you all for the feedback here and via PM. Sounds like my fears of near-unlimited risk are well-founded, which is unfortunate. We could afford to gift Juan significantly more than $1,500 I loaned him, but I am not on track to be "retire with a 2% safe withdrawal rate" wealthy either. I still plan to talk to an immigration attorney, but it sounds like the conversation may need to be oriented around finding another way to help him/his family.

I am surprised so many seem to think poorly of Juan. I have personally seen him work extremely hard over a multi-year period to make the best of the cards life has dealt him. He's always done it with a smile on his face and without trying to take shortcuts (and no, I don't consider asking for a loan to pay for an immigration attorney to stay in the US after suffering an injury to be a shortcut; it's desperation). The guy could really use a break; I'm just not sure how to help him find one.
This is a rock and a hard place. I agree very much that you should not commit yourself/your family to this giant financial liability. I would concentrate on finding other ways to help. I sometimes read news articles about hospitals voluntarily eating the cost of helping people from other countries who come here for medical help unavailable in their own countries.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by IngognitoUSA »

fru-gal wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:43 pm
This is a rock and a hard place. I agree very much that you should not commit yourself/your family to this giant financial liability. I would concentrate on finding other ways to help. I sometimes read news articles about hospitals voluntarily eating the cost of helping people from other countries who come here for medical help unavailable in their own countries.
The cost is eventually passed onto us by the hospitals.
Cyanide123
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Cyanide123 »

Personally i would decline being a co sponsor. When i didn't have much income (first year of medical residency with employment in only half of the prior tax year as i was in medical school the rest of the year), i honestly felt some hesitation asking my father to be my wife's Co sponsor. It's a lot of responsibility, anything can go wrong and the other person can be held responsible for all financial needs.

Maybe you could instead give a gift of $X, whatever you are comfortable with, for the treatment of the child? That way you will feel that you are doing something at least and you are capped on what you would pay.

Even most third world countries have plenty of treatment options if a person is able to afford it. I've lived in pakistan the first 19 years of my life, I'm guessing this person is from some part of South America, most countries there are more advanced than Pakistan. Even in Pakistan, if you have the money, you can get some excellent health Care.

On a side note, sponsoring a child to come here can take up to a year if not more, if the child is THAT sick, i wonder if the immigration will happen in time anyway.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by yangtui »

please do not do this
jminv
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by jminv »

Rayandron wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:26 pm Thank you all for the feedback here and via PM. Sounds like my fears of near-unlimited risk are well-founded, which is unfortunate. We could afford to gift Juan significantly more than $1,500 I loaned him, but I am not on track to be "retire with a 2% safe withdrawal rate" wealthy either. I still plan to talk to an immigration attorney, but it sounds like the conversation may need to be oriented around finding another way to help him/his family.

I am surprised so many seem to think poorly of Juan. I have personally seen him work extremely hard over a multi-year period to make the best of the cards life has dealt him. He's always done it with a smile on his face and without trying to take shortcuts (and no, I don't consider asking for a loan to pay for an immigration attorney to stay in the US after suffering an injury to be a shortcut; it's desperation). The guy could really use a break; I'm just not sure how to help him find one.
It is rare for the affidavit to be enforced. Very rare. Your immigration attorney will tell you this but it's your money, not theirs on the line. You can play your luck at that, if you want. The thing is, if the kid is really coming here for health care and his family is under 125% of the federal poverty line it stands to reason that he will receive public benefits. The largest cost will be healthcare. Healthcare is horrendously expensive in the usa so it could be very, very expensive. He will end up on mean tested Medicaid and with the recent rule change, this will count the immigrant as a public ward. It stands to reason that an increase in suits, from a very low base, by the government against sponsors where the immigrant is classified as a public ward would decrease the number of people willing to sponsor in the future. The government can do this if they want since it is a contract between you and them. It's just enforcement that's been lax but enforcement can change.

As I mentioned earlier, you could loan/gift him 5 x the difference between his and his other household members income and the 125% federal poverty level for his household size. It seems like it just needs to be parked in an account for the application period and it doesn't seem like doing this violates anything as it appears to just be cash in account, not taking into account whether that cash is borrowed. If he does own a home, he can throw in the equity, based on an optimistic valuation, and if he owns two cars (not just one, has to be non-primary) and his car loan is less than the value, he can add that too. If the difference is only two thousand, say, you would provide 10k. It's better than unlimited financial liability if you are really wanting to help. He could also try to find this difference himself (his wife, really, since she works) by say going to a peer lending site and borrowing the money, or finding some other lending source so that they can meet the form's requirements.

Juan's wife could look to her extended family in the usa - if she has some - and ask for a sponsor. Perhaps Juan also has extended family in the usa. He could also ask around at church, his friend group, etc. I'm sure that some peop Juan isn't the first person to need a joint sponsor/make up the income difference, he needs to ask around. You're probably not the only person he's asking. I would imagine that the reason he is asking you is that you gave him the loan for the immigration attorney, Juan mentioned that to said attorney, so attorney said why not try him for joint sponsor.

When talking to an immigration attorney, keep in mind that just because something has a low probability of occurring, if it does it could be ruinous. It's not the attorney's money on the line, it's yours. They might tell you that normally these affidavits, which are contracts with the government, are meaningless. Normally is not always and says nothing about your case or what the future might hold. It seems you must really want to help if you're going to pay an immigration attorney for advice.
bogledogle
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by bogledogle »

Rayandron wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:25 pm From 2012 to 2017, I developed a strong professional relationship with an immigrant
Immigration is a horrific experience. If you can't call the guy a friend or a colleague, you are not ready to help him.
stoptothink
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by stoptothink »

bogledogle wrote: Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:28 am
Rayandron wrote: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:25 pm From 2012 to 2017, I developed a strong professional relationship with an immigrant
Immigration is a horrific experience. If you can't call the guy a friend or a colleague, you are not ready to help him.
It's amazing to me that the guy would ask someone who it seems they do not have a particularly close relationship with to do this. My guess is it has a lot to do with the fact that OP already lent them money without a second thought and isn't hounding him to pay it back; most people wouldn't even consider this for a second if approached by a "Juan".
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dm200
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by dm200 »

I might also investigate whether treatment is actually available in the home country, or in another neighboring country.

We often see posts here stating what excellent and more affordable medical care is available in so many countries other than the US.
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anon_investor
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by anon_investor »

I would recommend against sponsoring due to the potential liability, especially since this is not your own family or extremely close friend.
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Random Musings
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Random Musings »

Would be extremely foolish to do this. What happens, for example, if your financial fortunes change a bit and someone very close to you that you love needs 50K for medical bills? Or, perhaps you?

You know you will never see that money again.

Another thing that bothers me about this that the answer to his financial problem was to call you. I guess there were no other options?

RM
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

OP, you are very kind. But, you risk a great deal, sounds like.

Me, I would probably give Juan a large, one-time gift if I felt very strongly about helping. Absolutely no way would I subject my family's finances to a possible disaster, no matter how remote that disaster could be. Family is more important than friendship.

Any chance of setting up a GoFundMe effort? Sometimes enormous amounts of money are raised.

Good luck!

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by QuentinCrisp »

What others have said about accepting near unlimited financial responsibility for the sponsored individual is true. I signed the affidavit of sponsorship for my husband of 16 years, a promise and obligation I willingly assume and am proud to assume. I have been asked by friends in the immigration community to sponsor them too, I have declined, and they respect the decision without question. They were desperate, not users. I'm sure your friend has the best intentions, but he is desperate. Respectfully decline. He will understand. I have found many in the immigration community do not understand the tremendous obligations assumed by sponsorship that last 10+ years. I would also encourage you not to involve yourself in their immigration matters. If Juan asks for a letter of character reference, sure. There is serious stuff going on now with immigration. Trust me, I know.
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DanMahowny
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by DanMahowny »

This can't possibly be real . . . . .
Funding secured
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QuentinCrisp
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by QuentinCrisp »

DanMahowny wrote: Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:17 pm This can't possibly be real . . . . .
This is indeed very "real" and actionable for U.S. citizens whose family and friends are not U.S. citizens. I appreciate Rayandron raising this question.
Quentin
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by stoptothink »

QuentinCrisp wrote: Tue Sep 03, 2019 5:29 pm
DanMahowny wrote: Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:17 pm This can't possibly be real . . . . .
This is indeed very "real" and actionable for U.S. citizens whose family and friends are not U.S. citizens. I appreciate Rayandron raising this question.
Quentin
The "not real" part is that someone may actually consider co-sponsoring the son of a former colleague they don't know all that well who already owes them money.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

If you're co-sponsoring in an immigration context, you're saying that you are willing to support the immigrant such that they won't become a public charge. (What "public charge" means is somewhat contentious, but basically that they won't end up on welfare ). It does not mean you have to pay medical care or provide housing or food, but it would mean that if the immigrant went on public services the government could conceivably come after you. Historically this has been unlikely. But it's still a risk.

I wouldn't do for someone not my spouse or immediate relative. My dad wouldn't co-sponsor my husband (fortunately I qualified.).
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dm200
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by dm200 »

Another thought/question -

How far away from qualifying as a "sponsor" is Juan?

Is the issue income, assets, something else -- or a combination?

Maybe (don't know) there could be a way you could assist Juan in qualifying as the sponsor - for a known and fixed risk to you.
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Rayandron
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Rayandron »

Update: Juan's attorney called me and was able to provide much more detail on the circumstances. Specifically:

1. His son is not applying for a greencard, but rather for a temporary B2 Visa, which is apparently normally used for tourism, but can also be used for medical tourism. As such, they are asking me to sign a Form i134, NOT a i864.
2. His son has Bartter syndrome, which is a collection of different kidney conditions that result in various imbalances in the blood. The purpose of the trip is to do the bloodwork and trial treatment necessary to identify what mix of drugs would best treat his particular blood imbalances. Evidently they're not equipped to do this in his home country.
3. Juan's income isn't eligible to be counted towards the requirements for supporting his son since he is still in the greencard application process. His wife's income is significantly lower than the $37k requirement for their family size of 4 (+1 for the sick son)

I am planning to reach out to an attorney to better understand the risks of an i134 affidavit, but my initial google research suggests that this is a much less risky proposition than an i864. Relevant section below:

From: https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/AFM ... 13496.html
30.8 Affidavits of Support for Nonimmigrants.

Every nonimmigrant seeking admission or extension or change of status must satisfy the inspector or adjudicator that he or she is capable of maintaining status and will not become a public charge. In situations where the status sought involves employment, the income from the employment itself generally satisfies the support requirement. A separate affidavit of support or other evidence of financial resources is most commonly required for nonimmigrant students and for certain visitors for pleasure (e.g., eld erly and infirm visitors seeking a lengthy stay in the U.S.). An affidavit in such a situation may be filed on Form I-134 or it may be prepared on plain paper and signed. It should be accompanied by documentation, such as bank records, to corroborate the claims made on the affidavit.

Such affidavits, although helpful in judging financial ability, are not legally binding. Form I-134 may only be used for nonimmigrant cases. The affidavit of support used for immigrants is Form I-864, discussed separately in Chapter 20.
Anybody know of contrary evidence that suggests an i-134 is not as low-risk as it sounds?
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

Rayandron wrote: Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:49 am Update: Juan's attorney called me and was able to provide much more detail on the circumstances. Specifically:

1. His son is not applying for a greencard, but rather for a temporary B2 Visa, which is apparently normally used for tourism, but can also be used for medical tourism. As such, they are asking me to sign a Form i134, NOT a i864.
2. His son has Bartter syndrome, which is a collection of different kidney conditions that result in various imbalances in the blood. The purpose of the trip is to do the bloodwork and trial treatment necessary to identify what mix of drugs would best treat his particular blood imbalances. Evidently they're not equipped to do this in his home country.
3. Juan's income isn't eligible to be counted towards the requirements for supporting his son since he is still in the greencard application process. His wife's income is significantly lower than the $37k requirement for their family size of 4 (+1 for the sick son)

I am planning to reach out to an attorney to better understand the risks of an i134 affidavit, but my initial google research suggests that this is a much less risky proposition than an i864. Relevant section below:

From: https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/AFM ... 13496.html
30.8 Affidavits of Support for Nonimmigrants.

Every nonimmigrant seeking admission or extension or change of status must satisfy the inspector or adjudicator that he or she is capable of maintaining status and will not become a public charge. In situations where the status sought involves employment, the income from the employment itself generally satisfies the support requirement. A separate affidavit of support or other evidence of financial resources is most commonly required for nonimmigrant students and for certain visitors for pleasure (e.g., eld erly and infirm visitors seeking a lengthy stay in the U.S.). An affidavit in such a situation may be filed on Form I-134 or it may be prepared on plain paper and signed. It should be accompanied by documentation, such as bank records, to corroborate the claims made on the affidavit.

Such affidavits, although helpful in judging financial ability, are not legally binding. Form I-134 may only be used for nonimmigrant cases. The affidavit of support used for immigrants is Form I-864, discussed separately in Chapter 20.
Anybody know of contrary evidence that suggests an i-134 is not as low-risk as it sounds?
This is helpful. In general, the I-134 is lower risk, because it's tied to the duration of the visa (e.g., 90 days) -- if the person were to attempt to apply for permanent residency, an I-864 would be needed (for example), and that's a much longer agreement. Definitely reach out to an attorney to what-if some scenarios (the son decides to overstay his visa, he becomes sicker and can't leave, and so forth), but you're right that the I-134 is typically a less big of a deal. In any case, you're not under contract to the immigrant, but asserting that this person is unlikely to be a public charge because you and your income are in support.

IANAL, just someone who did spouse's immigration paperwork through green card without the use of an attorney over a decade ago. But that's my sense of it.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by jminv »

Rayandron wrote: Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:49 am Update: Juan's attorney called me and was able to provide much more detail on the circumstances. Specifically:

1. His son is not applying for a greencard, but rather for a temporary B2 Visa, which is apparently normally used for tourism, but can also be used for medical tourism. As such, they are asking me to sign a Form i134, NOT a i864.
2. His son has Bartter syndrome, which is a collection of different kidney conditions that result in various imbalances in the blood. The purpose of the trip is to do the bloodwork and trial treatment necessary to identify what mix of drugs would best treat his particular blood imbalances. Evidently they're not equipped to do this in his home country.
3. Juan's income isn't eligible to be counted towards the requirements for supporting his son since he is still in the greencard application process. His wife's income is significantly lower than the $37k requirement for their family size of 4 (+1 for the sick son)

I am planning to reach out to an attorney to better understand the risks of an i134 affidavit, but my initial google research suggests that this is a much less risky proposition than an i864. Relevant section below:

From: https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/AFM ... 13496.html
30.8 Affidavits of Support for Nonimmigrants.

Every nonimmigrant seeking admission or extension or change of status must satisfy the inspector or adjudicator that he or she is capable of maintaining status and will not become a public charge. In situations where the status sought involves employment, the income from the employment itself generally satisfies the support requirement. A separate affidavit of support or other evidence of financial resources is most commonly required for nonimmigrant students and for certain visitors for pleasure (e.g., eld erly and infirm visitors seeking a lengthy stay in the U.S.). An affidavit in such a situation may be filed on Form I-134 or it may be prepared on plain paper and signed. It should be accompanied by documentation, such as bank records, to corroborate the claims made on the affidavit.

Such affidavits, although helpful in judging financial ability, are not legally binding. Form I-134 may only be used for nonimmigrant cases. The affidavit of support used for immigrants is Form I-864, discussed separately in Chapter 20.
Anybody know of contrary evidence that suggests an i-134 is not as low-risk as it sounds?
The I-134 is apparently not legally financially binding on the sponsor, as is noted in your quoted source. The manuals say this and there is case law as well. So even though this child is clearly coming to the usa to make use of public benefits to pay for medical and probably living expenses, you won't have potential financial liability as long as you don't lie on the form. It's odd that such a form is not legally binding (the I-864 is, though). The form itself does clearly states that they can sue you if they use public benefits but apparently not enforceable.

I think it's questionable to sign the affidavit of support when you don't have the intention of providing said support. You are signing stating that you are 'willing and able' to do so. I also wouldn't want to fill in the financial section and would be concerned if that affidavit and supporting documentation somehow went from the lawyer to Juan - he would know exactly what you were worth and how much you made. It might also make it more difficult for you to protest when he asks you to sign the I-864, which is enforceable, in the future. This seems to be something you want to do, though. Juan's and his child will appreciate it and when the hospital applies him for Medicaid, you won't be on the hook.
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Rayandron
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by Rayandron »

getthatmarshmallow wrote: Fri Sep 06, 2019 10:11 am This is helpful. In general, the I-134 is lower risk, because it's tied to the duration of the visa (e.g., 90 days) -- if the person were to attempt to apply for permanent residency, an I-864 would be needed (for example), and that's a much longer agreement. Definitely reach out to an attorney to what-if some scenarios (the son decides to overstay his visa, he becomes sicker and can't leave, and so forth), but you're right that the I-134 is typically a less big of a deal. In any case, you're not under contract to the immigrant, but asserting that this person is unlikely to be a public charge because you and your income are in support.

IANAL, just someone who did spouse's immigration paperwork through green card without the use of an attorney over a decade ago. But that's my sense of it.
Agreed and thank you, I want to better understand what happens in the exact what-if scenarios you mentioned. Any other what-ifs people think I should ask the attorney about?
jminv wrote: Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:56 am So even though this child is clearly coming to the usa to make use of public benefits to pay for medical and probably living expenses, you won't have potential financial liability as long as you don't lie on the form. It's odd that such a form is not legally binding (the I-864 is, though). The form itself does clearly states that they can sue you if they use public benefits but apparently not enforceable.
Why do you think the child is coming to make use of public benefits? Juan and his wife make a minimum of $50k (and more likely $75k-ish) and intend to pay for his medical treatment, food, housing, etc. They are only asking me to sign because the government is not allowing Juan to count his own income towards being able to support his kid. Additionally, my understanding is his child wouldn't be eligible for public benefits on a B2 visa, so hard to see why he would pay for an attorney to advise him to pursue benefits the kid isn't eligible for.
jminv wrote: Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:56 am I think it's questionable to sign the affidavit of support when you don't have the intention of providing said support. You are signing stating that you are 'willing and able' to do so. I also wouldn't want to fill in the financial section and would be concerned if that affidavit and supporting documentation somehow went from the lawyer to Juan - he would know exactly what you were worth and how much you made. It might also make it more difficult for you to protest when he asks you to sign the I-864, which is enforceable, in the future. This seems to be something you want to do, though. Juan's and his child will appreciate it and when the hospital applies him for Medicaid, you won't be on the hook.
I agree that disclosing my financial information to Juan via his lawyer is a risk. I actually tested the attorney about this after a fashion by asking for Juan's wife's salary, which the attorney refused to disclose without her permission. I pressed him on the issue pursuing alternate means to help her reach the $37k requirement without my signature as others in this thread suggested, but he wouldn't give me any detail beyond telling me "She works full-time, but her salary is not that close to the $37k requirement." Of course, he's Juan's attorney and not mine, but I was pleased that he refused to be more specific than that without her permission (which I intentionally hadn't asked for as of yet, and may not need to depending on what I'm able to find out about the i-134)
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member [Updated]

Post by galawdawg »

Are you willing to agree under penalty of perjury that you will "receive, support and maintain" Juan's family member? Will you be willing to deposit a bond to guarantee that his family member will not become a public charge and that they will depart the US when required? Do you understand that "if the person you are sponsoring becomes a public charge, the agency that provides assistance may be able to sue you to recover the cost of the assistance"? Are you willing to include with the affidavit signed statements from officers of your financial institutions holding your accounts showing dates opened, deposits over past twelve months and current balances? Are you also willing to include a statement from your employer with the date and nature of your employment and your salary?

That's what you'll be signing up for if you sign an I-134 Affidavit of Support. If you are asked to sign that affidavit with the representation from Juan's lawyer that you have nothing to worry about (wink-wink), I would absolutely refuse. As a felony prosecutor, I was asked several times by immigration lawyers to sign affidavits on behalf of their clients stating that they were victims of serious crimes and were helpful to the investigation/prosecution, when such was simply not true. I was frankly shocked when one acknowledged after I pressed the issue that what I would be signing was not true, but asking me to "overlook" that for "humanitarian" reasons. That attorney was the recipient of a bar complaint.
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Re: Co-sponsoring an immigrant's sick family member

Post by clip651 »

Rayandron wrote: Fri Sep 06, 2019 12:20 pm
Why do you think the child is coming to make use of public benefits? Juan and his wife make a minimum of $50k (and more likely $75k-ish) and intend to pay for his medical treatment, food, housing, etc.
Some medical treatments can easily exceed $100,000. Even "just" a battery of specialized blood tests, plus some consultations with appropriate specialists can add up to many thousands of dollars, particularly if there is no insurance coverage. If this is an unusual medical condition, it is more likely that the testing might be expensive.

So ... has Juan made any attempt to get an estimate of these medical expenses in advance? Does he have savings or other money available to pay for the medical expenses? Are the medical expenses being provided for free or at a discount due to the situation? If not, who is paying the medical expenses? The medical providers may need some of these questions answered (e.g. the "who is responsible for these bills" part) before starting testing or treatments as well.

I'm adding these questions, but I don't have the background to know the answers or implications in a case like this (I'm not a lawyer, and I have no experience with this sort of visa/immigration situation, and don't know about public benefits stuff either). But if I were thinking about signing on in support of the son coming over for medical testing and/or treatment, I'd want the answers to some of these questions first. It's good of you to want to help.

best wishes,
cj
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