Navigating the immigration system in the United States can be a daunting process, especially when it comes to understanding legal documents and their implications. A case in point is the affidavit of support, a critical form that can either be a casual promise or a binding contract. Today, we’re going to break down the differences between the I-134 and I-864 (see here and here) affidavits of support. How do these differences impact individuals looking to participate in the Uniting with Ukraine program?
The I-134: A Non-Enforceable Affidavit of Support
Considering sponsorship under the Uniting with Ukraine program? The I-134 affidavit of support is not the enforceable version of the affidavit. Many people are concerned that the sponsor could consider this document a contract against them. However, this is not the case with the I-134. This form is a less formal declaration of support. It does not bind the sponsor to the same legal obligations as its counterpart, the I-864.
The I-864: A Binding Legal Contract
In contrast, the I-864 affidavit of support applies to family-sponsored immigration cases. It has been a mandatory part of the sponsorship process since 1996. It involves a sponsor’s agreement to financially support the immigrant and reimburse the government for any public benefits the immigrant might use. This form is indeed a binding contract that federal court may enforce. Sponsors should agree to this support only if they can fully commit to the potential legal responsibilities involved.
How the Uniting with Ukraine Program Differs with the I-134 Affidavit
The Uniting with Ukraine program utilizes the I-134 affidavit, which offers more flexibility for the sponsor. With this document, the sponsor outlines the type of support they will provide—be it housing, healthcare, or education assistance. However, these are not enforceable commitments. If a Ukrainian parolee receives public benefits, it does not create liability for the sponsor under the I-134 affidavit. That is a key difference from the I-864 obligations.
Congressional Response to the I-134’s Limitations
The enforceable I-864 form was a response to Congress’s frustration with the unenforceable nature of I-134 in family sponsorship cases. This legislative change aimed to ensure that sponsors are contractually accountable for their financial responsibilities.
What I-134 Means for Potential Sponsors
Don’t let legal fears stop you from joining Uniting with Ukraine.The I-134 form does not carry the enforceable weight of the I-864. The government or parolees cannot hold sponsors liable for failing to provide education, housing support, or other public benefits. This thereby protects them from lawsuits. This protection allows sponsors to confidently offer their support to parolees without fear of legal repercussions.
The generosity of those who step forward to sponsor immigrants is commendable. Understanding the legal aspects of such an undertaking is crucial. The I-864 form commits a sponsor to significant legal obligations. Meanwhile, the I-134 used in the Uniting with Ukraine program does not. This distinction makes the I-134 an accessible option for those who want to help. Meanwhile, it takes out the worry of enforceable contracts and potential lawsuits.
If you’re considering becoming a sponsor, remember that your intention to help is what matters most. The U.S. immigration system, with all its complexities, recognizes the value of such goodwill through the Uniting with Ukraine program. This makes it possible to extend support without the concern of enforceable legal risks.
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