One of the ways a person can immigrate to the United States is via family members such as spouses, parents, siblings, or sons/daughters. Most U.S. citizens or permanent legal resident family members can petition for other family members to reside in the country with them permanently.
Filing a family petition is the first step in this process. Under this first step, the U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident must demonstrate that they are petitioning a family member by evidencing the family relationship. You have to show, for example, documentation that shows your relationship to the immigrant. This could mean, copies of birth certificates showing that the immigrant is your parent, or your child, or a marriage certificate demonstrating that the family member is your spouse.
However, things can get complicated whenever the United States citizen or legal permanent resident petitioner has a criminal background, especially if this criminal background relates to the Adam Walsh Act. What is the Adam Walsh Act? What does it mean for your application if the Adam Walsh Act is involved? Keep reading to find out.
What Is the Adam Walsh Act?
The Adam Walsh Act is also known as the Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. This act applies to crimes against children—specifically any person under the age of 18. Most of the crimes covered under this act include, but are not limited to the following:
- Child pornography
- False imprisonment
- Internet sex crimes with a minor
- Solicitation for prostitution
Aside from crimes in the jurisdiction of the U.S., the Adam Walsh Act also covers convictions for crimes committed in foreign countries if they can prove that the defendant was given a fair trial.
In accordance with this act, there will be a cancellation of the privilege of permanent residents and U.S. citizens to petition for their foreign family members to live in the U.S. if they have been convicted of crimes related to the ones mentioned above under the Adam Walsh Act.
What Happens If Your Petitioner Comes Under the Jurisdiction of the Adam Walsh Act?
If your petitioner comes under the jurisdiction of the Adam Walsh Act, your application will undergo a background check done by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine whether you are eligible to petition a foreign family member. Your petition will be declined if USCIS finds a record that the petitioner committed a crime under the Adam Walsh Act.
In this case, it doesn’t matter how eligible and admissible the person is to stay and live in the U.S. the foreign family member will not be eligible for a petition, much less a green card. Once USCIS has denied a petition under the Adam Walsh Act, it is extremely difficult to overcome their findings, though not impossible.
Is There an Exception to This Ruling?
There is a possibility that your petitioner can be exempted from this decision. The petitioner must prove to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that they will not pose any form of risk to the foreign family member who will be coming into the United States. This situation will involve a hearing or meeting to prove their qualification beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, you should take note that the DHS is the sole authority that can decide on this matter and appeals are hard to come by.
The Bottom Line: Work With a Reputable Immigration Attorney
The journey to immigrating to the U.S. can come with lots of preparation and complex application processes. If you want to be sure that you are handling everything correctly, your best choice will be to work with an immigration lawyer.
If you need the best immigration attorney in San Diego, you should book an appointment with the San Diego Immigration Law Office. Our team can help you in fulfilling your American Dream. Our services include applications for petitions, U-visas, VAWA, DACA, TPS, consular processing, green cards, citizenships and many more.