Amanda writes, "I have lived in The Philippines for years and work as an English teacher, but in US Dollars my income is well below the poverty line there. Now my Filipino husband and I would like to relocate to Arizona and start a new life there. Do you think the agents at the USCIS will have a heart attack and deny my application to bring my spouse to USA just because I made so little money during last three years?"
Absolutely. The idea behind checking the income of a citizen is to make sure that the alien spouse does not become a liability on American taxpayers. If a foreigner has not made enough contribution to American society in form of work and/or taxes, it would be unfair to US taxpayers to be burdened with providing welfare to this individual. Assuming that you both would find work on arrival and be able to support yourself, the only way to get around this is to find a joint sponsor, who can use income and/or assets to meet the requirements.