Immigration Consequences of the Adam Walsh Act
When you marry someone from another country, your foreign spouse must normally go through immigration processing in order to become a permanent resident in the US. Part of this process includes reviewing any charges or criminal convictions either of you have. An Adam Walsh Act Waiver is required if you are a registered sex offender and the victim was a minor child under 18 years of age.
The Adam Walsh Act waiver requires the following:
You must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you pose no risk to the safety and well being of your spouse.
Passing the test results in waiver approval, and you can proceed normally with case processing.
Removal from the sex offender registry helps, but it does not allow you to skip the Adam Walsh Act. You still need a waiver. Of course, being off the registry is a big step in favor of a waiver, no risk determination. Still, the USCIS immigration office will make a finding that you have proven you are of little risk to the community, but that does not necessarily mean you are no risk to your spouse. Expungements do not avoid the need for an AWA no risk determination for essentially the same reason.
AWA waivers are difficult to obtain. You need a well-organized submission in order to be successful sponsoring your husband or wife to obtain a green card.
When an AWA crime is detected, your petition to sponsor your spouse will pause. You must submit fingerprints for a further background check. Eventually, you are issued a ”Request for Evidence” and “Notice of Intent to Deny” with a deadline of 87 days to answer. Your must prove convincingly either of the following:
- You do not fall under the Adam Walsh Act; or
- You do not pose any risk to the safety and well being of your spouse.
It is important that you have as much evidence, proof, and explanation supporting either your innocence or rehabilitation. 87 days to prepare is very short. Evidence normally includes criminal records, treatment programs and results, affidavits, a psychological examination, and a legal brief or memorandum. Sometimes, you or you and your foreign spouse are called for an interview before a USCIS officer.
Motions and Appeals
Your case will be denied if you are unable to prove convincingly that you are of no risk to your family member. A denied case can be reopened or reconsidered on very narrow grounds. Sometimes, it can be administratively appealed if you claim that the AWA should not apply to your case. At other times, a court action is possible. There may be other immigration paths to consider as well.
You cannot win at the USCIS level, on appeal, or in court if your original submissions are not excellent. You would not want to spend over a year on case processing and fees, to be denied and then not have a strong case for basing an appeal that, in the end, is still denied.
We understand that it is the job of an immigration officer to look for weaknesses in a case and exploit them. So, case preparation is critical because the best chance of success you have is at USCIS when your case is first presented.
Our firm stands out because it has obtained multiple USCIS approvals for registered sex offenders. So, it is worth your time to contact us if you would consider working with our office on case processing. We want to strategize and help set out an immigration plan.
As a client, we normally look for alternatives upon payment of a deposit when working with our office, and sometimes we find alternative ways of bypassing the AWA. The legal fee depends on the work and we have payment plans to help make things reasonable. I’ve also been working on a litigation strategy that can help many clients in your situation.
On the whole, AWA approvals nationwide are rare for sex offenders. However, our law firm’s approval rate is relatively high by comparison. I believe our success is due to hard work with clients and a firm knowledge of immigration. We’ve been creative in putting family members together by finding various ways to immigrate foreigners to the U.S.