Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service: Affidavits of Support on Behalf of Immigrants, OGC-98-8, October 29, 1997
October 29, 1997
The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
The Honorable Henry J. Hyde
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on the Judiciary
House of Representatives
Subject:Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service:
Affidavits of Support on Behalf of Immigrants
Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a major rule promulgated by the Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), entitled "Affidavits of Support on Behalf of Immigrants" (RIN: 1115-AE58). We received the rule on October 16, 1997. It was published in the Federal Register as an interim rule on October 20, 1997. 62 Fed. Reg. 54346.
The interim rule amends the INS regulations by establishing that an individual (the sponsor) who files an affidavit of support under section 213A of the Immigration and Nationality Act on behalf of an intending immigrant incurs an obligation that may be enforced by a
civil action. It also specifies (1) procedures that federal, state,
and local agencies or private entities must follow to seek
reimbursement from the sponsor for provision of means-tested public
benefits, and (2) procedures for imposing the civil penalty provided
for under section 213A of the act, if the sponsor fails to give notice
of any change of address.
Enclosed is our assessment of the INS' compliance with the procedural
steps required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with
respect to the rule. Our review indicates that the INS complied with
the applicable requirements.
If you have any questions about this report, please contact James
Vickers, Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-8210. The official
responsible for GAO evaluation work relating to the Department of
Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, is Norman Rabkin, Director, Administration of Justice Issues. Mr. Rabkin can be reached at (202) 512-8777.
Robert P. Murphy
The Honorable Doris Meissner
Immigration and Naturalization Service
ANALYSIS UNDER 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iv) OF A MAJOR RULE ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE ENTITLED
"AFFIDAVITS OF SUPPORT ON BEHALF OF IMMIGRANTS"
(i) Cost-benefit analysis
The Immigration and Naturalization Service discusses the costs
and benefits in the preamble to the interim rule, as required by
Executive Order No. 12866.
In view of the fact that most immigrants are barred from receiving
means-tested public benefits for their first 5 years in the United
States, INS does not expect the majority of the savings resulting from
this interim rule to materialize until after the fifth anniversary of
the immigration reform measure.
The greatest savings will be in the Medicaid program since most
permanent residents will remain ineligible for Supplemental Security
Income and food stamp benefits until they become U.S. citizens.
Savings in the Medicaid program due to the deeming of sponsor income
and resources are projected as becoming significant in the sixth full
year following implementation, fiscal year 2003. The savings for that
year are estimated to be $300 million, increasing to $600 million in
2004, $900 million in 2005, $1.3 billion in 2006, and $1.7 billion in
The administrative cost associated with these provisions may be offset
by an adjustment to fees for Consular immigrant visas and INS
adjustment of status applications. The cost of the additional review
of the new affidavit is not expected to exceed $1 million annually.
(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act,
5 U.S.C. §§ 603-605, 607, and 609
The Commissioner has determined that the interim rule will not
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small
entities because the rule applies to individual sponsors and the
sponsored immigrant, who are not within the definition of small
entities established by 5 U.S.C. § 601.
(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. §§ 1532-1535
The interim rule does not impose a federal intergovernmental or
private sector mandate, as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et
The Commissioner has found that good cause exists to make the rule
effective without the use of the notice and comment procedures of 5
U.S.C. § 553.
Sections 531(b) and 551(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and
Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 make the new affidavit of support
requirement effective 60 days after the promulgation of the new
affidavit support form. To avoid the confusion of having the form,
which was promulgated simultaneously with the issuance of this interim
rule, in use without this implementing rule, this rule will be
effective in 60 days. Therefore, the Commissioner found there was
inadequate time for notice and comment. However, this interim rule
includes a request for comments to be submitted by February 17, 1998,
and the comments will be considered prior to the issuance of a final
Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3520
The information collection requirements of the interim rule have been
approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the
Paperwork Reduction Act. The Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A
of the Act and the Contract Between Sponsor and Household Member have
been assigned OMB Control No. 1115-0214. The Sponsor's Notice of
Change of Address has been assigned Control No. 1115-0215.
Statutory authorization for the rule
The interim rule was promulgated pursuant to section 551(a) of the
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996,
Pub. L. 104-208, September 30, 1996, 8 U.S.C.§ 1183a.
Executive Order No. 12866
The interim rule has been determined to be a "significant regulatory
action" and was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget
because, over time, it will have a significant economic impact on the
federal government in excess of $100 million. The Office of
Information and Regulatory Affairs approved the interim rule as
complying with the requirements of the order based on information
supplied by INS, which included a planned regulatory action document
describing the reason for the rule and an assessment of the costs and
budgetary impact of the rule.
Executive Order No. 12612
The INS has found that the interim rule does not have sufficient
federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism
Assessment under Executive Order No. 12612.