I'm family friends with some undocumented immigrants, one of whom is a DACA recipient. With everything the Trump administration and Republicans have been doing it's made me pretty angry and honestly pretty fearful for my friends. I'm sure that the DACA recipient has been waiting patiently for Congress to offer a natural path to citizenship, but who knows how long that will really take.

From my perspective, as a friend and US citizen, I'm wondering if there are any ways I can help move along the process on this individual's behalf. This family does not have a lot of money, but I do have some disposable income, and I would be willing to pay any fees (up to a certain amount). But I don't know if that willingness really makes a difference, or if there are inherent limitations to the system that no amount of money can solve.

If I wanted to "sponsor" my friend in a monetary sense, would it make a difference? Are there any risks? And how would I even start down that path... of helping this person initiate / complete the naturalization process?

  • What exactly are you talking about? Giving money to the DACA person to help with fees? Gifting money is legal and non-taxable up to a certain amount. What do you mean by "if there are inherent limitations to the system that no amount of money can solve." Yes, there are legal limitations: the process of the DACA program itself is a legal process all DACA people must adhere to, as well as the federal agencies that administer the program and the dictates of the courts. And there is the legal limitation of bribery of federal officials to "help move along the process on this individual's behalf." Jun 28, 2018 at 14:31
  • I'm not referring to bribing government officials. But I remember reading an article years ago explaining that immigrating to Canada was generally easier to do the more money you had. I am wondering if a similar principle applies, in general, to US immigration. I know basically nothing about the legal hurdles involved in legal immigration. For instance, I don't know whether there's an initial fee for applying for citizenship, if applying puts a person at risk of being deported, if there are attorney retainer fees that can help with that, etc. I'm looking for any insight here.
    – soapergem
    Jun 28, 2018 at 14:53
  • Canada offers different forms "merit" and business investment-based immigration. They have nothing to do with US immigration. In the US, DACA is completely different than simply applying for citizenship; read uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/apply-citizenship You need to Google and read and then formulate some very specific questions. Jun 28, 2018 at 15:06

1 Answer 1


Whether or not you are a DACA recipient, if you are in the US illegally, the path to citizenship is very narrow, and money will be of little use. It could be used to pay for an attorney who could represent a person that was already qualified, but cannot create qualification. A person might petition for "cancellation of removal" if they have lived in the US continuously for at least 10 years, are of "good moral character", have not been convicted of a crime and show that removal would result in "exceptional and extremely unusual hardship" to the alien's spouse, parent, or child who is U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident". However, there are caps on the number of such cancellations that can be issued (4,000 annually). Also, you don't "apply" for non-LPR cancellation, you petition for it as a defense when you are being deported.

If a person is not illegally present, money could help in obtaining an EB-5 visa, where a person invests in a job-creating enterprise that hires at least 10 people, investing a minimum of $500,000 for "targeted" areas or $1M otherwise.

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