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.



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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?

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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?

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

@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!

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.

@Drew Thank you. I will certainly do so!

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!