The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act has been in legal news because of the implication that it is in effect an ex post facto law. This issue has yet to be completely dealt with because even though the bill was authorized by the US Congress and Senate with subsequent Presidential signature, the US Supreme Court is the ultimate decision maker regarding constitutionality. At the time of this writing, the Supreme Court has yet to rule with finality one way or the other regarding the Adam Walsh Act.
This legislation has much in common with the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act because it inhibits a US Citizen’s ability to file an immigration petition on behalf of an alien family member.
Under relevant sections of the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act, Lawful Permanent Residents and US Citizens who have been convicted or plead guilty to a “specified offense against a minor” are precluded from acquiring approval of any immigration petition based on any sort of underlying family relationship. The Adam Walsh Act also bars U.S. citizens convicted of these aforementioned offenses from filing non-immigrant visa petitions that would categorize their fiancees, spouses, or minor children as eligible for “K” non-immigrant status (K1, K2, K3, K4).
The distinction between the restrictions imposed by the IMBRA and the Adam Walsh Act should not be overlooked. Whereas the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act has an impact mostly upon petitioners for K-1 and K-3 visas, the Adam Walsh legislation places limitations on potential petitioner of every family oriented immigration application, which includes the CR-1 and IR-1 visas.
There are certain offenses that have been deemed “specified offense[s] against a minor” that would cause the bar to become operative. The following is a non-exhaustive list of offenses that could cause a visa petition to be denied based upon the Adam Walsh Act: kidnapping or false imprisonment (unless committed by a parent), sexual solicitation, solicitation to engage in acts of prostitution, offenses involving child pornography, or anything that is determined to be an offense involving sexual conduct against a minor.
It might be wise to retain the services of an experienced immigration attorney in situations where the prospective petitioner is unsure whether he falls under the provisions of the Adam Walsh Act. In a case in which it is decided that the offense will prohibit a visa application’s approval pursuant to the act, it might be feasible to acquire a waiver of the finding of ineligibility. If the waiver application is denied, then the decision cannot be appealed. In order to obtain a waiver, the petitioner must prove that he or she not a threat to the prospective beneficiary.
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