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Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens



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6/14/2019

Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens



On May 23, 2019, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens. The memorandum directs relevant federal agencies to update or issue procedures, guidance, and regulations to comply with current law and ensure that ineligible immigrants do not receive federal means-tested benefits. The memorandum highlights the commitment of the Administration to enforcing existing immigration laws and protecting the American taxpayer. 

As part of USCIS’ implementation of this memorandum, USCIS officers will now be required to remind individuals at their adjustment of status interviews of their sponsors’ responsibilities under existing law and regulations. Our officers must remind applicants and sponsors that the Affidavit of Support is a legal and enforceable contract between the sponsor and the federal government. The sponsor must be willing and able to financially support the intending immigrant as outlined by law and regulations (see INA 213A and 8 CFR 213a). If the sponsored immigrant receives any federal means-tested public benefits, the sponsor will be expected to reimburse the benefits-granting agency for every dollar of benefits received by the immigrant.

Over the next several months, federal agencies will develop and implement guidance on the presidential memorandum to make sure that agencies enforce these requirements. USCIS will do our part, and we are actively working to implement the President’s directive with our federal partners, including by updating policies and regulations. We continue to advance the President’s directive to enforce the public charge ground of inadmissibility, which seeks to ensure that immigrants are self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of their families, their sponsors, and private organizations rather than public resources. 

The President has made it a priority to ensure that every individual who seeks to come to the United States is self-sufficient, temporarily or permanently. The principle of self-sufficiency has been enshrined in our immigration laws since the 1800s, and we as an agency must ensure that immigrants who become part of this great country abide by this principle.

Sincerely,

Ken Cuccinelli II

Acting Director






5/27/2019

川普出狠招 移民享福利 追擔保人償還

(World Journal) 社論

川普總統上周簽署備忘錄,將強制執行一項有23年歷史的法律,要求合法移民的擔保人(sponsor),在被擔保人使用任何政府福利,包括醫療補助(Medicaid)、糧食券和其他服務後,須向政府償還支出,否則財政部將追討或扣押其退稅。

這項備忘錄是在川普宣布大幅減少「親屬移民」,以「高技術移民」取而代之的移民改革方案後,針對合法移民採取的又一措施,也是推動擇優移民制的一部分,希望讓移民申請擔保人對新移民在美國接受醫療或經濟好處負責。

事實上,給移民享受福利設置障礙,是川普政府一貫方針。要求移民若享福利,擔保人須償還,讓新移民「不能享受」福利,川普政府去年公布的一項新規則,也想讓移民「不敢享受」福利。去年9月22日,國土安全部公布新規則,要求申請美國簽證或綠卡者須經濟獨立,不能成為公共負擔(public charge),否則將不予批准。長達447頁規則列出公共福利(public benefits)內容,移民官審查移民申請時應考慮這些因素。

規則列出的「聯邦公共福利」包括:美國政府撥款提供的任何贈款、合同、貸款、專業許可或商業許可;由政府撥款通過代理機構向個人、家庭或單位提供支付或援助的退休、健康、殘疾、公共或輔助住房、高等教育、食品援助、失業救濟金或任何其他福利。新移民如果享受這些福利,申請公民時會獲得「負面評分」,對申請人有嚇阻作用。

川普政府系列針對合法移民的政策,目標是排拒不勞而獲「吃美國」的新移民,用川普常說的一句話「移民不能一來美國就拿福利」。政策執行後,新移民「吃大鍋飯」、享受美國福利的時代可能結束。

批評人士認為,川普政府這樣做是不公平地懲罰低收入移民,因為他們需要援助才能在美國生活。移民權益維護團體批評川普的備忘錄「野蠻、魯莽、危險和不人道」,「旨在向移民家庭傳遞信息,即若你不是白人和富人,你就不受歡迎和不安全」。但批評者不願面對的是:一,多達58%非美國公民家庭,至少享受一項政府福利。這些移民不少人雖聲稱,移民美國是因為嚮往自由美好的生活,但他們真正嚮往的是美國福利,不想自食其力,未繳過稅,卻想坐享其成。

二,要求合法移民的擔保人支付被擔保人使用各種社會服務的支出,並非共和黨籍的川普首創,恰恰是1996年民主黨籍的總統柯林頓簽署「非法移民改革和移民責任法」和「福利改革法」的一部分,是兩黨和社會共識。只是這些法律一直未認真執行,而川普政府決心嚴厲實施而已。

據柯林頓簽署的上述法律,移民擔保人須簽署一份宣誓書(I-864)。宣誓書詳細說明為移民申請作擔保將負的財務責任,並建立收集機制,以便政府從擔保人收回所花費用。衛福部將收集移民和擔保人的數據,財政部則負責追回這些費用。

該法律還明文要求,各州提供使用聯邦福利的移民姓名,並向其擔保人發出帳單。若擔保人未支付,財政部會收到通知,並在擔保人的退稅中扣除這部分金額。顯然這項法律是為了阻止潛在擔保人,為可能申請公共福利的新移民作擔保。

川普的備忘錄要求,當移民申請公共福利時,政府機構將把擔保人的收入納入考量,這樣做勢必減少能獲得福利資格的人數。備忘錄的目標是在今年12月前執行這項法律,預料未來親屬移民不僅越來越難申請,且申請成功後如想「吃福利」,將變得更困難。

引人注意的是,「逢川必反」的民主黨人,對川普上述備忘錄反應低調。一方面是因法律原本由柯林頓簽署,民主黨人過去支持,現在如反對毫無道理;另一方面,要求新移民自給自足,不拿福利,理由正當。民主黨人若反對,很容易被扣上「袒護不法、傷害美國、不愛美國」的大帽子。

川普的備忘錄具法律正當性,卻語焉不詳,執行這項法律涉及聯邦農業部、國安部、社會安全署及財政部等,還涉及發放福利的各州和地方政府,實施將十分繁雜,執行不無可能虎頭蛇尾。如何兼顧情、理、法,既「追償」違背承諾的移民擔保人,也遏阻不當「吃福利」現象。新移民沒繳稅或繳很少的稅,卻坐享福利,實際上是盤剝所有納稅人的血汗錢,違反法律和社會正義,不能姑息。

原文链接>>




5/24/2019

移民享福利 擔保人須還:衛福部蒐集資料 財政部追討

(World Journal) 編譯黃秀媛

川普總統下令,移民享受糧食券等福利,申請擔保人須償還。(Getty Images)

川普總統23日簽署備忘錄,下令切實執行23年前制定的法規,規定在美國的合法移民如使用任何社會服務,例如醫療補助計畫(Medicaid)或糧食券等福利,當初為他們申請移民的擔保人,必須把這些費用償還政府。

這是柯林頓總統1996年簽署的非法移民改革和移民法案以及福利改革法的規定,可是一直沒有付諸實施。

根據這項條款,移民的申請人以後必須簽署宣誓書,為其擔保的移民負起財務責任,並成立收費機制向申請人要回有關費用。



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衛生福利部將負責蒐集這些申請擔保人和移民的資料,財政部則負責追回費用。

這種配合川普擇優接納移民方針的措施,有意讓申請擔保人為移民獲得的任何醫療或財務利益負起責任。

川普一周前才宣布徹底改革合法移民體制的計畫,準備以人才(技術)移民取代親屬移民;目前這兩種移民的比率分別為12%和66%,川普的計畫將使其分別變成57%和33%。

新的備忘錄指示聯邦部會,切實執行防止移民成為「公共負擔」的政策,以遏阻有人為可能使用公共福利的人申請移民;但是,這種做法也可能讓處境困難的移民不敢使用公共福利。

現行法規已規定,申請擔保人必須簽署文件,聲明他們將負責移民的財務需求,如果移民申請公共福利,他們將把移民使用的任何福利的費用償還政府;法律也規定在決定移民是否有資格獲得福利救濟時,應考量申請擔保人的財務能力。

但是,這種規定一直沒有切實執行。



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川普的備忘錄指示聯邦部會,在今年底前更新或制定程序,以執行這種措施,並向使用公共福利移民的申請擔保人收取費用;如申請擔保人不付,將經由討債程序處理。

白宮說,由非美國公民擔任戶長的家庭,有58%至少使用一項福利,這些家庭有一半家裡有人使用Medicaid。

川普政府也提出法規,規定獲得住房補助的家庭,全家都必須是美國的合法居民;這種規定可能使超過5萬5000個本身是美國合法居民或公民的兒童被趕出這些居所。






    
   
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PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDA

Memorandum on Enforcing the Legal Responsibilities of Sponsors of Aliens

IMMIGRATION Issued on: May 23, 2019

May 23, 2019

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Purpose.   A key priority of my Administration is restoring the rule of law by ensuring that existing immigration laws are enforced.  The immigration laws currently require that, when an alien receives certain forms of means-tested public benefits, the government or non-government entity providing the public benefit must request reimbursement from the alien’s financial sponsor.  These laws also require that, when an alien applies for certain means-tested public benefits, the financial resources of the alien’s sponsor must be counted as part of the alien’s financial resources in determining both eligibility for the benefits and the amount of benefits that may be awarded.  Financial sponsors who pledge to financially support the sponsored alien in the event the alien applies for or receives public benefits will be expected to fulfill their commitment under law.

Several major means-tested public benefits programs — including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — require updated procedures and guidance to ensure that the requirements of existing law are enforced.  The purpose of this memorandum is to direct relevant agencies to update or issue procedures, guidance, and regulations, as needed, to ensure that ineligible non-citizens do not receive means-tested public benefits, in better compliance with the law.


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Sec2.  Background. Since December 19, 1997, the Congress has required an alien’s sponsor to sign an affidavit of support under section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) pledging financial support for the sponsored alien in the event the sponsored alien applies for or receives means-tested public benefits.

Section 213A of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1183a) also requires that upon notification that a sponsored alien has received any means tested public benefit, the appropriate government or non government entity that provided such benefit shall request reimbursement from the sponsor in an amount equal to the unreimbursed cost of such benefit.

Section 421 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1631) states that when an alien with an affidavit of support under section 213A of the INA applies for any benefit under a Federal means-tested public benefits program, the income and resources of the sponsor and the sponsor’s spouse are deemed to be income and resources of the alien for purposes of determining both the alien’s eligibility for the benefits and the amount of public benefits that may be awarded to the alien.


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These deeming and reimbursement requirements are subject to several important statutory exceptions for aliens who have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty (8 U.S.C. 1631(f)) or who would be unable to obtain food and shelter without the public benefits (8 U.S.C. 1631(e)), for children and pregnant women who are lawfully residing in the United States and receiving medical assistance from a State under the Children’s  Health Insurance Program or Medicaid (42 U.S.C. 1396b(v)(4)), and for aliens receiving SNAP benefits who are members of the sponsor’s household or are under 18 years old (7 U.S.C. 2014(i)(2)(E)).

Currently, agencies are not adequately enforcing these requirements.  Some agencies have insufficient procedures and guidance for implementing these reimbursement and deeming requirements of the immigration laws.  For example, the Department of Health and Human Services has not adequately issued guidance on either sponsor reimbursement or sponsor deeming for the Medicaid program.  Even in cases in which some guidance exists — such as for the Supplemental Security Income, TANF, and SNAP programs — increased oversight and updates to current data collection efforts will ensure more effective compliance.

Ensuring compliance with the rule of law requires renewed efforts to enforce these requirements and the issuance of appropriate guidance so agency practices and enforcement can be aligned with Federal law.

Sec3.  Issuance of Guidance and Procedures; Implementation.   (a)  No later than 90 days after the date of this memorandum, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services shall take all appropriate steps to enforce section 213A of the INA.  Such enforcement efforts shall include:

(i)   establishing or updating, as appropriate, procedures and guidance on the reimbursement obligations of sponsors; and

(ii)  providing such procedures and guidance to all entities involved in enforcement effort actions, including the Federal and State officials responsible for administering any means-tested public benefit programs under the respective purview of each Secretary.

(b)  The guidance issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section should include, as appropriate and consistent with law:

(i)    procedures for recovering reimbursement from an alien’s financial sponsor for means-tested public benefit payments made to an alien;


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(ii)   procedures for notification to the sponsor of amounts owed in reimbursement and any procedures related to appeal, payment plans, non-response, and non-reimbursement;

(iii)  procedures for notifying the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security of sponsor’s non payment and procedures for requesting that the Attorney General bring a civil action against the sponsor;

(iv)   procedures for data sharing with Federal agencies, as appropriate and consistent with law;

(v)    procedures for how the income and resources of the sponsor and the sponsor’s spouse will be deemed attributable to the alien in determining eligibility for the means-tested public benefit and the amount of benefits that may be awarded; and

(vi)   procedures for determining whether any exceptions to the deeming or reimbursement requirements apply to the alien.

(c)  No later than 180 days after the date of this memorandum, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services shall each submit a report to the President, through the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, detailing:

(i)    all actions taken to establish or update the procedures and guidance described in section 3(a) of this memorandum;

(ii)   the methods used to track deeming and reimbursement actions and the results; and

(iii)  all actions taken to share information with other Federal agencies pursuant to section 5 of this memorandum.




Sec4.  Notification of Sponsor Reimbursement Reponsibilities. (a)  By the end of fiscal year 2019, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services shall provide the appropriate and respective Federal and State officials described in section 3(a)(ii) of this memorandum with the procedures and guidance described in section 3 of this memorandum for notifying sponsors of reimbursement obligations for means-tested public benefits, as required by law.

(b)  The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, shall advise the following parties about how the reimbursement and deeming requirements will be enforced:

(i)    all current sponsors and those seeking to become sponsors who have signed or plan to sign an affidavit of support;

(ii)   others who, under applicable provisions of law, may become liable for reimbursing the cost of public benefits paid to a sponsored alien; and

(iii)  all current sponsored aliens and those seeking to become sponsored aliens.


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Sec5.  Collection, Record-Keeping, and Non-Reimbursement.   (a)  No later than 180 days after the date of this memorandum, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services and the Commissioner of Social Security shall coordinate with the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to:

(i)   establish and maintain records regarding each financial sponsor’s reimbursement obligations and status, as appropriate and consistent with law; and

(ii)  establish information-sharing procedures to ensure that records regarding each sponsor’s reimbursement obligations and reimbursement status are made available to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security for consideration for the administration and enforcement of all applicable immigration laws and regulations, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.

(b)  No later than 180 days after the date of this memorandum, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall issue guidance on the eligibility of a sponsor who is delinquent on the sponsor’s reimbursement obligation to continue to serve as a sponsor or to sponsor additional aliens.

(c)  To the extent appropriate and consistent with law, the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services and the Commissioner of Social Security shall coordinate with the Secretary of the Treasury to establish information-sharing procedures with the Treasury Offset Program (31 CFR 285.5) to ensure collection is ordered by letters of reimbursement.

(d)  The Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall refer all cases in which financial sponsors fail to satisfy their statutory reimbursement obligations to the Attorney General for enforcement of such statutory reimbursement obligation (8 U.S.C. 1183a(b)(2), (e)).

Sec6.  Protecting the American Taxpayer and Preventing Abuse of the Immigration System. (a)  The Secretaries of the Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education shall each submit a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, that includes:

(i)    their review of their respective guidance and regulations governing the issuance of Federal public benefits to non-citizens;

(ii)   steps they have taken to comply with the eligibility requirements set forth in 8 U.S.C. 1611(a);

(iii)  an explanation of whether the Federal public benefits that they administer are means-tested public benefits within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1183a and whether additional Federal public benefits they administer, if any, should be regarded as means-tested public benefits; and

(iv)   their review of any additional regulations or guidance that should be updated to align with applicable statutes.

(b)  The report described in subsection (a) of this section should include, where applicable, coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Sec7.  Definitions. For purposes of this memorandum, the following definitions shall apply:

(a)  The term “sponsor” shall have the meaning set forth in section 213A(f) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1183a(f)), including any joint sponsor authorized by section 213A(f)(5)(A) (8 U.S.C. 1183a(f)(5)(A)) or member of household under section 213A(f)(5)(B) (8 U.S.C. 1183a(f)(5)(B)).

(b)  The term “sponsored alien” means an individual who was required under section 212(a)(4)(C) or 212(a)(4)(D) of the INA to have a sponsor execute an enforceable affidavit of support and whose sponsor’s obligations under section 213A of the INA have entered into effect.

(c)  The term “means-tested public benefit” shall have the meaning set forth in 8 CFR 213a.1.

(d)  The term “Federal public benefit” shall have the meaning set forth in 8 U.S.C. 1611(c).

Sec8.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)    the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof;

(ii)   the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals; or

(iii)  existing rights or obligations under international agreements.

(b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP












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