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Sponsor an immigrant relative to come to the U.S., and you are undertaking much more than just some extra paperwork.  By signing the I-864 "Affidavit of Support" you are contracting to keep that person from ever becoming a "public charge."  Specifically, you have a duty to guarantee the immigrant support at 125% of poverty or else the immigrant can sue you for support--as can any government agency that provided benefits to the immigrant.  This duty ends only once the immigrant becomes a citizen, leaves the country permanently, is credited with 40 quarters of employment, or dies. 

Litigation about this duty has been sparse, even though the I-864 has been used by many thousands of immigrant families since 1996.  However, a recent holding by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals may spur more immigrants to sue for support. 

In Liu v. Mund, the Seventh Circuit held that the immigrant has no duty to mitigate damages.  In this case, Liu, a Chinese immigrant sued her ex-husband in federal c...
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