IIIC hosts Irish lawyers

The staff of the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) is pleased to host two lawyers for a month who recently arrived from Ireland who are members of the Professional Fellows Exchange Program sponsored by the Irish Institute of Boston College. Claire Cumiskey is a senior legal officer with Irish Immigrant Support Centre (NASC) in Cork and Virginija Petrauskaite is a legal officer with Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) in Dublin.

The purpose of the program is to offer Irish professionals a chance to visit similar agencies in the U.S. and exchange knowledge about their programs and methods. It also encourages networking across the globe. Our guests spent their first week at the IIIC and that was followed by two weeks visiting other organizations in Boston and meeting with community leaders to gain an understanding of the various resources and services available to immigrants in Boston.

There are striking similarities between the services offered by the IIIC and its counterparts in Ireland. All of the agencies engage in advocacy and political action on behalf of their immigrant constituents and each offers community legal clinics to assist clients navigating through the respective immigration systems. The challenges are quite similar as well. Claire and Virginija were quite impressed after learning about the Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights (the “Nanny Bill”) legislation recently enacted. Currently, domestic labor trafficking is a huge issue for the immigrant communities in Ireland. Both Claire and Virginija hope to see like- minded legislation adopted in Ireland in the near future.

After finishing up in Boston, Claire and Virginija are off to Washington, D.C. to attend a conference and network with two hundred other members of the Professional Fellows Exchange Program. Because this is the first trip to America for both of them, they hope to find some time to play “tourists” and continue the sightseeing adventures which they so enjoyed in Boston. We thank Claire and Virginija and wish them well on the rest of their journey.


Q: I married a US citizen and now I am filing for adjustment of status to legal permanent residence with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) here in the US. I see that an “affidavit of support” from my wife is part of the required paperwork. It looks complicated. Can you explain what is involved?

A: Basically, an affidavit of support is a guarantee to the US government that an applicant for legal permanent residence will not become a “public charge.” The form used is I-864 (or the shorter form I-864EZ where the spouse is the sponsor and relies on her income alone to meet the requirements). If your spouse meets the minimum income requirements, she must be the sponsor. If she does not, a “joint sponsor” independently meeting the income requirements would be needed. This often is a relative, but it does not have to be; a joint sponsor must, however, be a US citizen or legal permanent resident and currently reside in the United States. Note that if a Form I-864 from a joint sponsor is necessary, the petitioning spouse must also submit Form I-864, even if she has little or no income.

The minimum income for sponsorship is, generally speaking, 125% of the federal poverty line. Each year USCIS publishes a chart showing the minimum requirements, depending on the number of people in the household. IIIC can help to determine what these requirements are in individual cases.

Along with the Form I-864, the sponsor must submit a copy of the most recent federal tax return plus Form W-2. Submission of returns from the two prior years is optional, but the adjusted gross income for those two years still must be listed on the form. In addition, we recommend submitting a letter from the sponsor’s employer on business letterhead stating what the job is, how long the sponsor has worked there, and the level of earnings either annually or hourly for a certain number of hours per week. The sponsor also is advised to provide copies of pay stubs for the most recent three pay periods. In cases where the sponsor is self-employed, an affidavit attesting to the kind of business conducted and the amount earned can be submitted instead of an employer letter. IIIC can help in drafting such an affidavit, and we can notarize it.

In some cases the sponsor does not have adequate income from employment but owns certain types of asset with enough cash value to make up the shortfall. And in some other cases the intending immigrant’s own income or that of another household member can be added to that of the spouse to meet the minimum requirement.

The I-864 affidavit of support is legally binding for the life of the sponsor, unless the beneficiary immigrant becomes a US citizen, works legally for ten years in the US, abandons his or her green card, or dies. Note that divorce does not void the affidavit. By making the affidavit, the sponsor is agreeing to support the immigrant if necessary, and to reimburse any agency that provides Federal, State, or local means-tested public benefits to sponsored immigrants.

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. Immigration law is always subject to change. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services and US Department of State frequently amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of IIIC legal services staff

Health Screening Clinic a Success

The Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) held the first of its October Free Health Screening Clinics last week. As part of its Wellness services the Irish immigrant community in Boston, the IIIC hosts a series of clinics in conjunction with the Cathedral of the Holy Cross each October. Attendees of the clinic can avail of free flu shots, blood pressure tests, and blood sugar checks and have an opportunity to speak with nurses about any health concerns they may have. There is also information available at the clinics on health insurance options for the uninsured. The second and final clinic this year will take place in the Center at 100 Franklin Street, Boston between 3pm and 6pm on Monday, October 20th. The clinic is open to all and drop-ins are welcome though appointments are recommended. Appointments can be booked by calling Iarla on 617 542 7654 ext. 32 or emailing iohallmhurain@iiicenter.org.

Celebrate 25 Years with the IIIC and Sister Lena Deevy, LSA

Since 1993, the Irish International Immigrant Center has recognized some truly inspiring leaders by presenting them with our Solas Award. Year after year, we’ve taken time to reflect on the difference an individual can make – locally, nationally, and globally. This year we are delighted that one of our Solas Award recipients will be our own Executive Director Emerita, Sister Lena Deevy, LSA.

IIIC’s Solas Awards will take place on October 30 at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. We invite members of the community to join us for this special occasion honoring Sister Lena and celebrating the IIIC’s 25th anniversary. We are now offering a special community rate of $125 for a ticket to the Solas Awards, which will include a cocktail reception with a raffle and silent auction, Irish music featuring artists including Tony Keegan and Frank Gibbons, and a dinner awards program.

Before coming to Boston, Sister Lena was a community organizer in Wales and Ireland. She then led the IIIC’s day-to-day work for 24 years before stepping down from the role last year. Under her guidance, the Center grew from a volunteer hotline to the multi-service welcome center it is today. Tens of thousands of immigrants have directly benefitted from the IIIC’s assistance since its founding in 1989, and many more have benefitted from Sister Lena’s outspoken advocacy on immigration issues. She has worked alongside others to promote the welfare of all immigrants, and to highlight how much immigrants contribute to our communities and to society.

Beyond her role at the IIIC, Sister Lena has been a voice for peace, justice, and inclusion on a global scale. In addition to her work for Ireland, she has supported similar efforts in Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Philippines, South Africa, and many other countries. It is a joy for us to recognize someone who has inspired so many to take action over the years, and who has touched countless lives.

To make your Solas Awards reservation, contact Mary at 617-695-1554. For those wishing to participate at the community rate, please be sure to mention this when you give us a call!