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Third Circuit Upholds Denial of Registrant’s Right to Sponsor Wife for Citizenship

[ACSOL 7/9/18]

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that an individual convicted of a sex offense does not have the right to sponsor his foreign born wife for citizenship in the United States in a decision published on July 5. The court’s decision was based upon its interpretation of language in the Adam Walsh Act (AWA) which allows the Department of Homeland Security to approve such citizenship only if the individual can prove he poses “no risk” to his spouse.

According to the court’s decision, the language in the AWA is intended to protect children from sexual exploitation and violent crime. Notably, the individual in this case is married to an adult, not a child. In addition, the court ruled that denial of a right to sponsor a foreign born wife for citizenship in the U.S. is not punishment and therefore the AWA can be applied retroactively.

“The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has made a grievous error, an error that destroy families,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “It is difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to prove that he or she does not pose a risk to his or her spouse. Therefore, the net effect is that virtually all individuals convicted of a sex offense have been and will continue to be denied the ability to live in the U.S. with their foreign born spouses.”

A copy of the court’s decision is available using the link below.

BAKRAN v US

 

Join the discussion

  1. steve

    let me understand this then, prior to 2006, if a sex offender married a non citizen, and sponsored them for us citizenship and it was granted and they are now a us citizen, can they revoke the citizenship?

    • Craig

      I would like to know that same question, have 2 dear friends that have been married for over 16 years and both their spouses are citizens now, of course they did this before the AWA went into effect in 2006. Does any one know. Janice would you know?

  2. AO

    That’s insane! Are any other crimes barred from this? Like, oh, I don’t know, spousal abuse?

  3. WTF?

    In a related story, the SCOTUS rules that RSOs can be denied the right to walk on sidewalks or drink water meant for public consumption. Also shopping where children or women of child bearing age might frequent is now a felony.

    • E

      … as long as there are “separate but equal” opportunities for drinking water or shopping…

    • David

      @ WTF?: You forgot to mention that we are not allowed out after 9 p.m. or before 6:00 a.m. …. this is merely a civil, administrative precaution. 😡

      • AJ

        @David:
        we are not allowed out after 9 p.m. or before 6:00 a.m.
        —–
        Could you expand on this, please? Joking? Still supervised? Something else?

        • TS

          @AJ

          @David was dog piling on the punishments in a hypothetical situation by taking it to a Nth degree.

  4. 290 air

    We need to push for some other form of public registry so we can get people from all sides on board for abolishing registries altogether. Could we gather signatures and get a DUI public registry on the ballot? I bet we could find 365,000 signatures. Just contact MADD and they would probably help out.

    • WTF?

      While I applaud and support your endevour, Most of those people are closet drinkers and alcohol is an accepted vice. I’m sure 75% of the public would be on listed, including most of congress.
      Unfortunately, We are the whipping boy for the forseeable future. We give people a reason not to hate, but dispise. We are outcasts, lepers, the unclean. Never to see redemption. If public hangings were permitted, we would be the main attraction.
      For all the good work Janice and people like her do, it is a finger in the dyke. It will only stop for each of us when we each are gone. We can deny it, pretend to ignore it. Even try to live beyond it, but it will eventually consume us. You have to look no further than Florida’s Registry. Even in death, those citizens are not allowed to be removed.
      A grim reality, but one we have created.

      • Will Allen

        “290 air” was not talking about “drinkers”. He/she was talking about people who have committed a heinous crime – DUI. Some of whom have actually murdered people. And not that it matters (since Registries don’t affect it), but the recidivism rate is many multiples that of $EX crimes.

        There are zero excuses that there are not 100+ other public, national, lifetime Registries. Certainly should be a Gun Offender Registry. Who thinks that people who shoot other people should live near schools?! Be in schools? Who thinks that people who drive drunk should do so near schools?! Why would we ever allow such people to drive near or to (!!!) a school?! People who support the $ORs must support similar bans.

        The clear fact of the matter is that if a person accepts that $ORs are okay and useful then there aren’t any legitimate reasons to not have many more Registries.

        Lastly, the Registry situation is not “one we have created”. People do bad things. People do illegal things. Millions of people in America. It is the responsibility of a good, legitimate government to appropriately, morally, and fairly punish such people. That is the responsibility of a legitimate government. The Registries are a failure that government created. They are a crime that government committed. The Registries are not something that people who have committed a crime created or morally failed at.

        • norman

          Below is from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/Publication/812450

          “In 2016 there were 10,497 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving
          crashes, an average of 1 alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 50 minutes.”
          And:
          “A total of 1,233 children 14 and younger were killed in motor vehicle
          traffic crashes in 2016. Of these 1,233 fatalities, 214 children (17%)
          died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. Of these 214 child deaths:
          ■■ 115 (54%) were occupants of vehicles with drivers who had BACs
          of .08 g/dL or higher;
          ■■ 61 (29%) were occupants of other vehicles;
          ■■ 36 (17%) were nonoccupants (pedestrians, pedalcyclists, or other
          nonoccupants); and
          ■■ 2 (<1%) were drivers."

          Insert SO in place of dui offenders. would any of us still be alive?

          Just sayin..

    • Sunny

      I do freelance web design and I was thinking about cresting a registry site to list Megans Law employees, Static-99 psychologists, and anyone else involved in creating and maintaining the registry. It would directly mimic the Megans law website, listing name, address, photo, etc.

      I am interested in thoughts on this. Would it be counterproductive to our cause by appearing petty (tit-for-tat). Could any good come of it? If I did this, it would be very formal and well-designed, and I would accept public submissions with some sort of document or reference to show the person is somehow involved with any sex offender registry.

      • LOL!!

        Hahahahaha at the registry for Static-99 “psychologists.” Tom Tobin, Karl Hanson, even some of ACSOL’s “experts” would be on that website. Tobin would be a high risk (no quotes) threat to the Constitution, both on “static” and “dynamic” indicators. IDK if Karl Hanson would qualify though, since he isn’t licensed to practice in the United States or California. (No joke… Karl Hanson isn’t a licensed psychologist.)

        Seriously though, this is a good idea. Maybe include cops who do “compliance checks,” CASOMB-approved “treatment” “doctors,” the particularly bad probation/parole officers, politicians who support Megan’s Law, and the weaselly-types (the category Karl Hanson would fit into… since, again, he isn’t licensed in California or any state). It would include address, pictures, weight, height, tattoos (I bet Karl Hanson has a tramp stamp), a random “scientific” score, how much each offender profited by way of contracts or government grants, a disclaimer (not to be used to commit any crimes against a person), as well as the position that it is “all publicly available information” anyway. Remember: Civil, not punishment in any way.

      • SCOTUS SAVE US NOW

        Google the “idiots registry” a gentleman in washington dc did something like this and the court ruled it was his 1st amendment right to do so

        • Will Allen

          Yep, the guy’s name is Dennis Sobin. I was following his legal case while it was happening. I visit his site fairly often just to see any lovely updates that he has and to give him more “hits”. It is a very rude site though, for sure. But his targets deserve it.

          I have thought about a public registry for Registry Terrorists for a very long time. Done absolutely nothing for it however! I would like to see a national, public, lifetime Registry for the un-American, criminal, harassing terrorists who support the $ORs. I would love to see it model the $ORs exactly, including maps that have little dots all over them. Further, we should create an obnoxious, un-American service like Offender Watch (or whatever that P.O.S., money grubbing organization calls themselves) that will e-mail out idiotic notices whenever one of the terrorists moves close to you.

          I’m all for it. Harassers need to know that if they support the $ORs that they are unavoidably going to pay a price for it. I work at that every day already. People in the U.S. should never, ever wonder why our country is so full of hate. They must reap what they sow. They mustn’t wonder why people shoot up buildings. They worry about people being radicalized by ISIS, etc. No need to worry about that, people who support the $ORs are radicalizing people right here in America.

          I know many powerful, well-off families that are good people. They don’t support big government and law enforcement and never will. They are teaching their children the same thing. And their children. The U.S. is devolving.

      • Anonymous

        What about using peodophile.com? Email anonymous@peodophile.com for further contact details. Let’s discuss a plan of action.

    • TS

      @290air, et al

      A CA DUI/OUI registry (not just alcohol, but anything that could impair a person operating equipment or driving) would work if you could get the signatures for a ballot measure or just get the number of signatures in front of a CA legislator(s) who wants to make a name for themself(ves) when it comes to election time and introduce a bill for it. Just think of the FTRs that could be had for those who don’t follow through when their time comes to visit the registering office in addition to the extra work required to comply by those needed to comply with it, those who actually do the desk work for it to work, and those who run around for compliance checks during sweep weeks! You’d certainly bring up the registry topic for all to consider and possibly help with cutting back on DUIs/OUIs if people are aware of it. Crap, that would really show a police state to the masses!

      At the same time, a registry of registries could be created by some wise IT folks that does nothing but scrape for all non-RC registries in this country for disseminating already public information and photos. There are enough other registries around the country, e.g. DUI in OH, Animal Abuse in TN, Domestic Violence (national website), etc, that it could be the encyclopedia (the original wikipedia for us old timers) of registries for reference (as long as it is accurately maintained to avoid legal issues, refers to the legal office who registers the people as the responsible party, and asks for no money to remove people which is done at the registering office). Advertising space could be had for those police state technologies use to track people for added effect or lawyers who want to help those wanting to get off of registries!

      Both of these would really get people to feel the burn of what a RC feels and possibly suffer similarly!

      I mention these more out of jest than anything. However, they are possible realitym, sadly, if people really wanted to do it because our society is in that state of mind now and willing to accept them, until they are hit with them. When hit with them, well, thinking may change.

  5. CR

    My husband and I ran into the AWA brick wall when, after our marriage, we tried to get his status adjusted so he could get a green card. We were fortunate. He was finally granted his green card (based on I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) but it took three years and four months to get through the process. About halfway through that period, I got a letter from CIS saying that they intended to deny my I-130 petition, but they provided me an opportunity to submit documentary evidence that I felt “may overcome the deficiencies forming the grounds for the intended dismissal.”

    They said that my Form I-130 petition must be denied under the Adam Walsh Act of 2006 unless I submit evidence that clearly demonstrates, beyond any reasonable doubt, that I pose no risk to the safety and well-being of the Beneficiary, or any derivative beneficiary.

    With the help of our excellent lawyer, an exhaustive evaluation by the sex-offender treatment therapist with whom I had completed over 10 years of therapy more than a decade earlier, and notarized affidavits by every family member and friend that knew of my past offenses and who knew my husband and I throughout our lengthy permanent relationship (23 years already at that time, the last two as a married couple), the evidence I submitted was accepted and my I-130 was approved. Another 5 months after that, his I-485 application for adjustment of status was granted and his green card arrived in the mail.

    I know we are one of the rare success stories. My heart goes out to every couple and family that is torn apart because of the near-impossibility of satisfying the AWAs demands.

    • CL

      Good to hear a success story! Can you provide me the name of your attorney via private message or email? Thank you in advance.

      • CR

        The immigration attorney we used is in Dallas. I’m not sure how to go about giving you his contact info.
        This site doesn’t have a private messaging system or a way to send emails.

        • CL

          We live in that area. If you don’t mind sending me the contact info for the attorney my email is baseballspouse@yahoo.com. Blessings!

        • CR

          I emailed you just now via an anonymous emailer, CL. Hopefully it’ll get there without much delay. And good luck to you.

        • CL

          @CR Have not received it yet…hopefully it will be here by tomorrow. Thank you for your efforts to try to get it to me.

    • James

      CR thank you for sharing your post and congratulations on getting your AWA waiver. I’m just starting the process for my wife, just did my biometrics. The tidbits of info you provided are valuable, so I can get a better understanding of how to overcome this. How did you find your attorney and what made you decide to hire him and keep him hired to help you get the AWA waiver? Much appreciated!

      • CR

        I went through this after I filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative so my husband could get his green card. We had an immigration attorney, but I did not know about the AWA implications for immigration, so we had not discussed my criminal offenses with him. About 18 months after our initial filing of the I-130 and I-485 et. al., and after two canceled and rescheduled interview appointments, CIS sent me a “REQUEST FOR EVIDENCE AND NOTICE OF INTENT TO DENY” my I-130 petition because of my AWA-applicable offenses.

        It was not a form letter. It was highly specific to my offenses and it went into great detail on the applicability of the AWA to me, my offenses, and why the act applies. It documented the statutory requirements of the AWA as related to immigration. It went into characteristics of my husband’s and my relationship as it pertained to considerations of the beneficiaries safety. It listed what evidence was required for me to supply to either rebut their findings about my criminal history or to demonstrate, beyond any reasonable doubt, that I pose no risk to the safety and well-being of the beneficiary (my husband) and/or any derivative beneficiary (e.g., children, of which we have none).

        I was given 87 days from the date of the letter to provide the requested evidence. In addition to certified copies of all court and arrest documents related to my offenses, I was asked to provide any rehabilitative evidence or evaluations for USCIS’ consideration concerning any risk that I may pose to the Beneficiary.

        Our immigration attorney had never dealt with an AWA case before, but he orchestrated the response and did a great job. I had several consultations with my former sex offender treatment provider so he could write an evaluation regarding any risk I might pose to my husband. My therapist had met my husband several times during my ten years of treatment, and so he knew a lot about our relationship already. That was helpful. His written assessment was very detailed, discussed all of the safety-related aspects of interest to CIS, included a lot of his personal observations about me, my offenses, and my treatment goals and results over the years that helped to form a positive image, and even included a STATIC-99R.

        My husband and I contacted our friends and relatives on both sides, all of whom were aware of my offenses and had known us as a couple for more than 20 years. We asked them to write notarized affidavits stating that they were aware of my offenses, and providing their assessment of our relationship over the years, and thoughts regarding my husband’s safety, my behavior toward him, etc.

        Our attorney wrote the response to CIS and included all the certified documentation I’d gathered, the affidavits from friends and family members, and my former therapist’s evaluation and Static99R, and got it off in the mail with a day or two to spare.

        We heard nothing for over a year. Thirteen months after we submitted the evidence, I got a letter from USCIS saying that my I-130 petition was approved. Six months after that, my husband got a letter saying his green card was granted, and a week later, it came in the mail.

        We never actually had an interview with CIS. We just had those two scheduled but canceled appointments before the “intent to deny” letter came.

        To summarize some details that may or may not be relevant to your case or to others:

        – We are a same-sex couple, together since 1993, married in 2014.
        – My children are grown. My husband has no children.
        – We had been together for over 21 years at the time we initially filed for my husband’s green card, and nearly 25 years by the time it was granted. The entire process with CIS took 39 months.
        – The letter I got from CIS mentioned my “conviction” for child-related offenses many times. However, I don’t have a conviction, but rather a deferred adjudication. I don’t know if that is pertinent to AWA.
        – We had a great lawyer. I am certain we would not have succeeded on our own, without one.

        ————————————–

        “How did you find your attorney and what made you decide to hire him and keep him hired to help you get the AWA waiver?”

        —-

        James, I used the “contact us” page at immigrationequality.org, an LGBTQ immigration rights organization, to request a referral to some immigration lawyers in our area. We weren’t looking for an attorney specifically focused on gay issues, just one that would be open-minded and willing to treat LGBT couples the same as any other. That’s not a concern for most people, but it is an ever-present consideration for gay couples. My husband and I tend to approach the selection of all professional service providers with that in mind. Of course, open-mindedness is also important qualification when it comes to dealing with our issues.

        I googled the names, read the web sites, and narrowed my choices down to a couple. We made an appointment with the first one, and ended up stopping there We decided based on our initial meeting that he was exactly who we were looking for. Luck, I suppose.

        As I mentioned, we had no idea that AWA had anything to do with immigration, so I never brought up my past offenses. There’s nothing on the I-130 petition form about it either. When I got the “notice of intent to deny” letter from CIS, we met with our attorney to talk about it. He had gotten a copy of the letter from CIS too. He knew the basics about my offenses from that, as they were briefly detailed in the letter. I shared everything in detail. He asked a lot of questions. Then he offered to represent me on the Demand for Evidence response. That was a totally separate agreement from the original representation contract, so there was a separate additional fee, of course.

        He was honest with me. He said he had never dealt with an AWA issue before and had little feel for the odds of succeeding. He told me frankly that “beyond any reasonable doubt” is a very high bar to clear, no matter what the issue. Also that whatever the decision of CIS based on the evidence we submit, it would not be subject to the normal appeals process, but that there was an administrative process (I don’t recall the details now) that could be pursued in the event that the decision went against me.

        CIS had two specific demands. They asked for any rehabilitative evidence or evaluations for their consideration concerning any risk that I may pose to the beneficiary. They wanted certified copies of criminal arrests, records, or charges related to the listed offense, and any others not listed.

        They only gave me 87 days from the date of the letter to reply to their demand for evidence. So by the time we met with the attorney, reached an agreement on representation, and worked out a strategy, we had about 75 days remaining to get it done and in their hands.

        Getting the requested certified copies of documents was just grunt work. I did all that with a few phone calls and web form requests/payments to the county records division, and got the results back in a couple of weeks, no problem.

        The key was to get the rehabilitative evidence to establish “beyond all reasonable doubt” that I posed “no risk to the safety and well-being of the beneficiary.” So to that end, we decided that the central element would be a comprehensive evaluation by a professional psychologist or licensed therapist to assess that risk. (Of course, “no risk” is the only acceptable answer, so if you can’t get to that, you probably won’t succeed.) I set up a conference with my old sex-offender therapist to get that going. I approached him because, even though it had been some 14 years since I’d seen him last, I had attended his weekly group therapy session for over 10 years prior to that, he knew a lot about my relationship with my husband from discussion in the sessions, and had even met my husband a couple of times (once in a consultation). Plus, I had successfully completed his program. It’s a good thing that I was able to get on his schedule, because I think it would have been very unlikely to get a useful evaluation starting cold with anyone else in the time we had available. As it was, we barely got it done in time.

        Besides that, we would include notarized affidavits from as many friends and relatives as possible addressing the same thing (my risk to my husband), and including how long they’d known each of us individually, the two of us together, the nature of the relationship (e.g., sibling, friend), their awareness of my past offenses, the amount of interaction they’d had with each or both of us over the years, their experience and beliefs about our relationship, and particularly, their knowledge of my husband’s well-being and safety, happiness, etc.

        The lawyer would write a cover letter addressing the legal aspects of the demands, and all would be packaged up together and sent in before the deadline.

        75 days is really not a lot of time to get all that done. It’s best if you know it’s coming and have everything done in advance. But we didn’t know, so we had to work fast and hard. The final packet of documents was an inch and a half thick. Then we heard nothing for more than a year. The waiting was hard, but the end result made the years-long effort worthwhile.

        I hope this was helpful, and I hope everything works out for you and CL and anyone else who ventures down this path.

        • David Kennerly

          Incredible! You have WAY more patience than I will ever have. Not to mention tolerance of government and its sheer stupidity. I would have a really hard time not showing them my contempt. That’s why I could never go through the process of expungement. That, and the fact that I would never be eligible. Congratulations!

        • James

          CR, I can tell from your very detailed and thorough answer to my question your willingness to help me and others who are going through the same situation. I really really really appreciate the even more tidbits of valuable info you shared in your post. I wish you and your partner a happy and blessed marriage! Thank you truly~

        • CR

          @David, thank you. It was really important to our happiness that we succeed, so we were willing to expend every effort toward that end. Once we were made aware of the AWA implications, we believed that we would get only one shot at our goal, and that my husband would be deported if we failed. After building a life together for over two decades, that would have devastated us. Just as it has devastated so many other families.

          @James, you are welcome, and I thank you for your wishes. Every situation is different, and there is no surefire prescription to guarantee success. I just hope that by sharing some details about our situation and the strategy that worked for us, it will help someone else faced with the same hurdles.

    • Drew Bolton

      CR, I am in the same boat. It’s almost been a decade and on our second attempt. Can you please reach out to me. I’d like to know your approach and who you retained for a lawyer. Please help, I am very concerned. My wife currently lives with me here in the US so at least we’re together.

      • CR

        You’ll have to give me a way to contact you, Drew. There is no messaging feature on this site.

        The process takes a disconcertingly long time. It’s already taken longer for you and your wife than it did for me and my husband, and it seemed like it took forever for us. The waiting gets to you. You can file an official inquiry with CIS after 120 days of no response from your last submission or notice from them, but my lawyer recommended not doing that except as a last resort. I gathered that it could result in further delays. So you just have to endure and wait.

        Go back and reread everything I wrote previously. I explained everything we did in response to the notice of intention to deny letter we got from them. But every situation is different, so I do think you need to get an immigration lawyer first, lay everything out on the table, and see what he recommends.

        • Drew

          Hey CL, you can contact me at: icomeinpeace(at)sbcglobal(dot)net
          Perhaps I can explain to you everything we’ve done and compare.

  6. ReadyToFight

    We are being exiled, only we CAN’T leave our country.
    This is not going to end well as our numbers grow.

  7. American Detained in America

    More proof that in registering us, we are no longer considered citizens, no longer have the rights of citizens.

  8. Facts should matter

    They don’t want us to reproduce and they want to take the children we already have away.

    At what point do we call this a war?

    • Will Allen

      At least since 1995.

      I think it is very important that listed people do a number of things. The first thing is to ensure that the $ORs are even more counterproductive than they naturally are. That means listed people should go out of their way to be around children all of the time, usually anonymously. Fortunately, that occurs just from living a normal life. But personally, I always like to assess random situation and think about how the terrorists who support the $ORs dream that their list keeps anyone safer. At best, their list just moves crimes.

      The next most important thing is to wage war on individual terrorists who support the $ORs. It is very important that those people pay as large a price as possible. There is no reason for those people to live in peace. They should be berated at every opportunity. Much can be done that is legal.

  9. JohnDoeUtah

    Why not argue denial of familial association under the First Amendment.

  10. CL

    @CR Unfortunately your email did not come through. We were considering an attorney in San Diego that claims to deal with AWA waivers according to internet searches but would much rather find an attorney closer to home. And I ditto James’ response. Thanks!

    • CR

      I just sent again from Guerrillamail. A test case to my own email worked, so hopefully you get it this time, CL.

    • Robert

      I wish you luck on getting an AWA waiver. USCIS has only granted 4 waivers in over 5,000 petitions. They are almost impossible to get. I have tried to get am AWA waiver about 5 years ago. After waiting 3 years for a response I was denied. To this day I have not seen my wife or children or heard from them at all in almost 5 years. My girls will be 12 and 11. USCIS get off on denying our petitions. And they wonder why people hate the asshole government. Illegals have more rights

  11. CR

    Sorry about that CL. I’ll come up with another approach. It’ll have to wait until later this evening, but I will get the info to you.

  12. CL

    @Drew Thank you. I will certainly do so!

  13. Drew

    Hi CR, my post was actually meant for you but I accidently typed “CL”. I provided my email there, if you can be so kind to respond. Thanks!

    • CL

      @Drew… you probably got an email from me already but now I see you were attempting to get in touch with someone else. Good luck with your attempts and prayers for your success?

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