I was convicted back in 1990 and I wanted to bring my wife to US
I was convicted over thirty years ago for physical contact with a minor under 18. I’m off the registry. When I wanted to bring my Ukrainian wife to America it became a problem again. I was not aware of the Adam Walsh Act, which prohibits a U.S. citizen from immigrating as a foreign fiancee or spouse if the U.S. citizen has a conviction involving any form of sexual contact with a minor. My attorney filed the case and the problem of the AWA popped up. I was told that this is serious and I am not able to do it successfully without a lawyer who specializes. My lawyer was not experienced in AWA matters.
What did I do next?
I started to look for immigration attorney. My friend recommended Allan Scott Lolly, because my friend’s immigration case was also complicated and he used this firm. I called the office and was told honestly, that a waiver to permit the U.S. citizen to proceed with immigrating a foreigner is possible, but rare. And it takes quite a lot of time. The receptionist also said it’s worth the time to talk to Allan.
What did the receptionist ask me?
- Basic contact information: name, state I live in, and email and phone number for further communication.
- She asked for my availability that day in case I could not immediately connect with an attorney.
- My wife’s name and country of origin.
- Whether either of us have children.
- About our wedding in Russia.
And then she of course asked me a few uncomfortable questions regarding my conviction. I was assured that everything is strictly confidential and they will do whatever is in their professional power to help with my case.
What happened next?
I received a call from an associate from the firm. He discussed more information with me. Allan’s firm specializes in AWA cases so he explained what is gonna happen and what we can expect. He mentioned that there are different ways to go about immigration to meet our needs. The fact that I was already married and had filed for a CR petition limited my choices to put us together as a family in the U.S. It’s o.k. because we can still move on and watch for opportunities.
I was told that there is no guarantee of approval and a general estimate but also that Allan did plenty of cases. He is most certainly the only immigration attorney who has multiple USCIS approvals for AWA cases. A good percentage of his cases end up positive one way or another, and they sometimes must work for years for some sort of acceptable result. I could tell this firm is experienced and gave me straight answers. My case was strong enough that it’s worth proceeding. Allan and I talked about legal principles and how we might proceed.
What was the process like?
We decided to go with Allan’s firm. I returned the signed agreement, paid the deposit, and was ready to go. I was assigned to my personal Case Manager. Allan’s right hand, because they usually handle cases like mine in pairs. They collected all the data online. We used emails for efficient communication, if an emergency arose a quick call to discuss the issue was made. So I was all the time informed about what is actually happening. At a point, Allan got personally involved once he started seeing the documentation come in. He kept up on issues involving the case and how to help, and we started working more closely together, giving instructions to me and also to his assistant right up to the point of filing.
There is only a small percentage of attorneys who are familiar with such issues
We needed to prove that I pose no risk of harm to my foreign spouse, or to any child dependents immigrating. The immigration agency making the decision is very conservative when deciding to issue waivers. According to the Adam Walsh Act statute, there is no right of appeal so the decision of the adjudicating immigration office is supposed to be final. However I was told that there are ways of appealing or litigating denials. Allan firm did over 400 cases last year, including complicated immigration matters and waivers, so the team has a lot of knowledge.
Step by step
I was given an intake screening and to start telling my story. The case manager had a list of documents to start gathering. I pulled my documents from my other lawyer. At the early stages, I needed to pull up my complete criminal conviction. This included not only the plea, but the police report, complaint, and probation records. I also had to try and get treatment records. It took time to pull these records because they are very old and involved a minor child victim. I couldn’t get all of them, but enough to understand the conviction. Then I got a Notice of Intent to Deny my case. We continued preparations.
I had to use a psychologist to evaluate whether or not I pose a risk of harm to my wife. We have no children and neither of us are young. Allan personally worked with the psychologist because he wanted to make sure that the issues of the case were addressed. The USCIS can be very picky, so the evaluation needs to be very thorough. I had many tests. The psychologist determined low risk, not no risk. Allan wanted low risk because no one is no risk. He said we need the exact truth about me and what the tests turn up. I think I did o.k. The psychologist interviewed my wife too.
With help from our Case Manager and attorney, we prepared all documentation to file my response. I had a chance to look over the medical evaluation with permission of my doctor, and the legal brief. We submitted. Allan learned about employment opportunities for my wife while we wait, but she does not want to go back to school.
What Did the Case Manager do for me and my wife?
Basically, everything. My Case Manager has my case file and can answer all my questions. My Case Manager also updates Allan and they get back to me. The Case Manager stays in the middle to help organize and coordinate. She is the same as a nurse in a hospital.
It’s worth it!
There are two different kinds of costs – for assistance and mandatory state fees. In my situation, the attorney charged $5,000 based on my situation. It was on a payment plan, so that helped. There were no government filing fees due for the AWA portion since my case was already filed.
I love my wife and we want to be together. The legal costs are o.k. Allan works on constitutional arguments to try and help all the guys who fall under the Adam Walsh Act. I’ve been to the Ukraine a number of times and am getting to know the territory there. We just keep waiting to see what it will take to get her to the U.S. The case is still in process.