Apr 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump administration wants immigrant sponsors to provide bank information

President Trump pointing in the White House briefing room
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to require people who apply to sponsor immigrant family members to give the government their bank account information, according to a notice in the Federal Register.

Why it matters: Last year, President Trump told agencies to find ways to enforce sponsors' legal financial responsibility for immigrants — including paying the government back if the immigrants use certain public benefits.

Between the lines: All immigrant sponsors must first sign Affidavits of Support, pledging financial responsibility for that immigrant — including if the immigrant uses certain public benefit programs such as food stamps or Medicaid.

  • But the law has rarely, if ever, been enforced, according to former Justice Department immigration attorney Leon Fresco.
  • The proposed change would also require sponsors to provide information about any previously submitted pledges of support for immigrants they've sponsored.
  • Affidavits would have to first be notarized as well.

The big picture: The rule could discourage some people from sponsoring immigrants at all. It‘s part of a broader push by the Trump administration to block immigrants from using public benefit programs — and keep people out of the U.S. who are deemed likely to use public benefits.

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