Recovering Immigration Financial Support
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Recovering Immigration Financial Support

The definitive guide to enforcing the I-864, Affidavit of Support

About the Book

In 1996 the U.S. Congress created a new tool for ensuring that new immigrants would be financially secure. The Form I-864, Affidavit of Support requires U.S. citizens to financially vouch for family members whom they wish to bring to the country. Enforceable in both state and federal court, this binding contract may last for the entirety of the family member's life. 

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Duration of obligations. When does obligation of financial support commence, and when does it cease? 
  • Defenses. When an U.S. petitioner is sued under the Form I-864, what defenses may be raised? 
  • Damages. What amount may the family member recover if she sues her U.S. sponsor? 
  • Federal court jurisdiction. How do federal courts assess subject matter and personal jurisdiction in suits by I-864 beneficiaries? 
  • State court jurisdiction. May the family member use alimony as a mechanism to enforce the support obligation? May she otherwise sue her petitioner in state court? 
  • Issue and claim preclusion. Under what circumstances will litigation history prevent a family member from subsequently seeking enforcement of her support rights? 
  • Nuptial agreements and waivers. May the family member and petitioner agree to waive rights under the Form I-864? 

This book is a resource to help family law and general practice attorneys understand the Form I-864. Drawn from material previously published in the ABA Family Law Qaurterly and Benders Immigration Bulletin, this book is the definitive guide to enforcing rights under the Form I-864. The book summarizes all available U.S. case law, published and unpublished. 

About the Author

Greg McLawsen
Greg McLawsen

Greg McLawsen is an immigration attorney based in Washington State. The founder of Puget Sound Legal, Greg's practice focuses on representing families in the U.S. immigration system. The author of several articles on the topic, Greg is an authority on the Form I-864, Affidavit of Support as an enforceable contract and regularly gives presentations on the topic to bar associations.

Greg has served in the leadership of the American Immigration Lawyers Association as treasurer, secretary and technology committee chair of the Washington State Chapter. He has served as chair and vice chair of the Solo and Small Practice Section of the Washington State Bar Association, and as a member of the Washington State Bar Association Future of the Legal Profession Task Force. 

Greg previously worked as a research editor for Immigration Law and Procedure, the "bible" of immigration law published by Lexis. Greg routinely publishes articles on topics including immigration law, ethics and law practice management. Select publications are available on the Social Science Research Network

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1 – Where does the I-864 come from?
    • Context overview
  • Chapter 2 – Understanding the I-864 as a contract.
    • Duration of obligation
    • Defenses.
    • Calculation of damages
  • Chapter 3 - Enforcing the I-864
    • Proving up the contract.
    • Federal court
    • Collectability of debt.
  • Chapter 4 - Nuptial agreements & waivers.

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