Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006

TITLE IV—Immigration law reforms to prevent sex offenders from abusing children

Sec. 402. Barring family-based petitions

Congress passed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (AWA) and President Bush signed the AWA into law on July 27, 2006. The declared purpose of the AWA was “to protect children from sexual exploitation and violent crime, to prevent child abuse and child pornography, to promote Internet safety, and to honor the memory of Adam Walsh and other child crime victims.”

The 2006 AWA made revisions to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that rendered certain U.S. citizens with a “specified offense against a minor” ineligible to file family-based visa petitions for family members, unless the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finds, in his or her “sole and unreviewable discretion,” and that the petitioner presents “no risk” to the proposed beneficiary. Section 111(7) of the AWA defines the specified offenses.

USCIS Malicious AWA Policy Has Destroyed at least 4000 Families Since 2011

By the agency’s own statistics, the number of denied AWA family petitions will surpass 4000 by 2017. This is a staggering number of families decimated by USCIS for no apparent reason. Each of these cases highlights the stories of immigrant families who struggle for years to cope with the heartbreaking effects of our country’s broken immigration system. USCIS’s malicious AWA policy serves no rational purpose and undermines the goals of family unity.

For years after its enactment, the USCIS has either outright denied or intentionally stalled thousands of family petitions that it determined to fall within its own AWA policy. By 2011, after several years of long delays, the USCIS denied virtually all AWA applications held at the agency for review since 2008. The agency reports that it receives 400-600 AWA application per year and boosts that it has denied 99% of all AWA family petitions received:

  • In July 2013, USCIS reported receiving about 400 AWA cases in 2012, approving just two cases.
  • In May of 2014, the agency reported that 601 cases were reviewed the prior year, with “fewer than 10” approved. The agency reports it reviewed approximately 2,500 cases since 2008.
  • In July 2016 the agency reported reviewing approximately 340 cases the prior year, with approximately 1,300 cases pending review.  The agency declined to give statistics regarding approval rates.

Senator Patrick Leahy’s “Crystal Ball”

On July 20, 2006 at the 2nd Session of 109th Congress, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont voiced concerns about the AWA revision to immigration law, that it “casts a wide net and in many cases will harshly, unnecessarily penalize people seeking entry to the United States who should be afforded the chance to keep their families intact.”

On the 109th congressional record, Senator Leahy further stated that “In a case of a citizen who is on the path to rehabilitation or whose crime was relatively minor; denial of a family member’s support would serve no rational purpose and would undermine the goals of family unity. I hope the Secretary will actively use this waiver authority to limit the broad reach of this provision to those cases where a citizen or legal resident genuinely poses a threat to a family member seeking entry.”

Senator Leahy’s envisioned concerns were well founded. Ten years since the AWA’s passage, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has adopted and aggressively implemented a profoundly different interpretation of the AWA immigration provisions than described during the 109th Congress. Senator Leahy’s forewarning of abuse of the AWA provision has been fully realized with USCIS’s denial of virtually all of the family petitions determined to fall within the AWA category by the agency.

The AWA Amendment to the INA Represents a Departure – the first of its kind, unprecedented and nearly impossible evidentiary standards

Following the AWA’s enactment, USCIS expansively interpreted the scope of the “specified offense” definition while simultaneously imposing a virtually impossible-to-meet burden on petitioners to establish that they pose no risk to the family members for whom they seek to petition.

The agency published its definition of the 2006 AWA waiver authority in its 2008 standard operating procedures (SOP). The SOP specified that approval of an AWA waiver should be “rare.”

The USCIS SOP states that a petitioner convicted of a specified offense against a minor is burdened to clearly demonstrate “beyond any reasonable doubt” that he or she poses no risk to the beneficiary – a virtually impossible standard causing nearly all cases to be denied. The “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard imposed by the USCIS was not authorized by the AWA statute.

AWA cases are the only use of this heightened evidentiary standard for family visa approval within USCIS. For other visa petition proceedings at USCIS, the applicable standard is ordinarily “preponderance of the evidence” or the “clear and convincing” standard used in other family petitions.

Potential harm to a family member is not required to be identified by a USCIS examiner. The SOP does not require the USCIS to identify a nexus between the criminal act of the petitioner and any potential harm to a foreign beneficiary.

The USCIS SOP requires the USCIS examiner to “automatically presume that risk exists in any case where the intended beneficiary is a child, irrespective of the nature and severity” of the disqualifying crime.”

Many AWA denials involve cases where there are no children involved, clearly an expansion of the declared purpose of the AWA by the 109th Congress “to protect children.”

Abuse of the Authority Granted by Congress in 2006; Complete Lack of Objectivity by USCIS for AWA cases

The current USCIS operating procedures openly state a strong bias against approval, shows the complete lack of objectivity and abuse of the authority granted to the agency under AWA in 2006.

USCIS’s position that most petitions should be barred, with no waiver granted, is in direct conflict with the U.S. government’s highly touted policy of “Keeping Families Together”

The USCIS AWA policy is suspected to have numerous violations of the US Constitution and various State Constitutions but has never had a proper judicial review by any court as the agency maintains that it has “sole and unreviewable discretion” of its decisions for AWA family petitions.

The Startling Power Invoked by DHS; the agency may deport a noncitizen for a crime committed by someone else

AWA family petitions are the only petitions in the agency to scrutinize exclusively the character of the United States citizen petitioner instead examining the fitness of the intending immigrant.

As a consequence of the current USCIS policy for AWA cases, the immigrant beneficiary is held responsible for a crime committed by someone else. DHS deports them and permanently banishes them from their family for nothing that they did but for a crime committed by their United States citizen petitioner – and often for crime committed a long time ago for which punishment and rehabilitation are complete.

The INA specifically defines “conviction,” only “with respect to an alien.” The agency’s decision to focus on only a petitioner’s criminal history, rather than the foreign national’s record sets these AWA cases apart from all other family petitions processed by USCIS.

USCIS AWA Policy Harms the Most Vulnerable Members of Society Instead of Protecting Them

The USCIS policy to separate virtually 100% of these families, actually harms the very same class of “most vulnerable members of society” that the agency claims to protect with its polices by keeping families separated for extended periods of time lasting for years while forcing them through an extensive legal and emotional ordeals.

Immigrant women and children affected by these denials are often poor by US standards. Their loved ones are forced to use precious family resources for extensive legal costs and duplicate living expenses of supporting residences abroad and at home for years while trying to overcome this unfair and abusive process by USCIS.

For many spouses, especially women, the banishment and forced separation from their spouse means a lifetime of despair where divorce, meaningful income and opportunity are not possible. Their religious beliefs and practices are comprised without the sanctity of the marriage and solidarity of their family no longer intact.

No one should ever have to live with the constant crippling fear of losing a spouse or child to deportation and having their families ripped apart when they have never broken any law and by no fault of their own.

The lasting consequence of the USCIS AWA denial for these couples will be an inability to live together anywhere.

USCIS Focuses on Punishment of the US Citizen Petitioner Rather Than Protection of Children from Criminal Acts and Abuse

For AWA cases only, the agency scrutinizes exclusively the character of the United States citizen petitioner instead examining the fitness of the intending immigrant as done for all other visas processed by the agency.

The fact that USCIS does not bar rapists, murderers or any other criminal category from immigrating foreign family members suggests the AWA statute is more of a punishment targeting only certain US citizens rather than a safeguard of protecting foreigners or children from possible crimes, abuses or exploitation.

The fact that a US citizen with an AWA qualifying conviction may marry any other US citizen shows that this USCIS policy does nothing towards the actual purpose of protecting children from crimes, abuses or exploitation for which AWA was enacted for.

In Its Current State, the USCIS AWA Process Is Unfair and Resembles a “Kangaroo Court” that Blatantly Disregards Recognized Standards of Immigration Law and Justice

When family petitions are denied, it normally should be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). However, to date the BIA has maintained that it has no jurisdiction to review the denial decision by the USCIS due to “Sole and unreviewable discretion” of the nearly 100% of AWA denials it has issued.

The BIA also asserts it does not have jurisdiction to review constitutional concerns raised by petitioners in their appeals. The BIA is organized within US Department of Justice.

Currently, there is no court available under statute to review a decision of the USCIS unless there is a court ordered deportation. As many foreign beneficiaries are outside the U.S, they will not be subject to removal proceedings so they never have an opportunity for any consideration.

A removal order will not address the constitutional problems associated with a USCIS denial and subsequent BIA refusal to conduct a review before removal proceedings.

As a result, these 4000 families decimated by USCIS are left helpless without any meaningful opportunity to obtain administrative review of USCIS AWA denials. There are no safeguards or statues to ensure USCIS exercises its discretion objectively and fairly.

Summary

US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice has allowed USCIS to develop a policy that enables the agency to categorically deny virtually 100% of family petitions for AWA cases, impose completely different and a more restrictive review standard than for all other visas processed by the agency, and then create an end-around appeal system to effectively eliminate any higher level legal review of these denied petitions; all designed for the express purpose of punishing a targeted group of U.S. citizens with a certain category of criminal convictions.

This offensive policy by USCIS runs counter to immigration laws, policies and practices. It punishes foreigners for someone else’s criminal conviction. The agency intentionally delays these petitions for years and creates an impossible legal process for the families to overcome. Instead of working to unify these families, USCIS does everything it can to break these families apart and to banish the family members to different countries. The typical consequence for many couples is the inability to live together anywhere.

The most repugnant fact is that USCIS has made it their goal to do this to virtually 100% of the U.S. citizens with an AWA immigration case. The ruining of peoples’ lives, breaking up families and banishing family members far away from each other is all done by design of the agency’s standard operating procedures and legal processes established expressly for these particular cases.

These are not collateral consequences that arise from one’s criminal conviction, these are well-planned, organized, deliberate actions taken by the U.S. government against its own citizen and innocent foreign citizens who have never done anything except fall in love, commit in marriage and start a family.

In 2003 Smith v. Doe, the question before the US Supreme Court was: If the intention (of sex registration) was to impose a punishment or “civil proceedings”. If the intention was to punish, that ends the inquiry. If the intention was to enact a regulatory scheme that is civil and non-punitive, the Court must examine whether the scheme is so punitive as to negate the State’s intention to deem it civil.

It is hard to find a clearer example, than the USCIS handling of AWA family petitions, of how the public sex offender registry laws have evolved to become punishment since 2003 Smith v. Doe decision.

This is somehow connected to the protection of children? When is enough going to be enough?

FightAWA.org

Download PDF version of this document at https://fightawa.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/FightAWA-paper.pdf

53 Comments:

  1. Pingback: About Us – Welcome to FightAWA

  2. Pingback: Adam Walsh Act – Alabama Women Against Registry

  3. so I am curious and I am not sure I understand everything.. Is there an active appeal against this regime or is this just an information site? If there is an active appeal and you are looking for legitimate cases to point to I am willing to share my family’s case which you may find to be a very good case to use. email if so but please only if there is a legitimate program , I do not need any more get rich quick or pay us for lies programs.. I have seen enough of the scam programs being operated.

  4. Levi, We are real people with a situation probably similar to yours. We are here to share experiences and knowledge so that we can formulate a unified action against the federal government for this terrible policy. There is an active lawsuit against the International Megan’s Law that affects many of us here. And there are individual challenges to the USCIS AWA policy in several federal courts.
    We seek to expand the knowledge of this policy to the media and get a challenge to the civil rights violations to federal court. There is no one asking your money here. We need to come together, share knowledge and challenge this policy as a group representing all of the families out there hurt by this.

    • My husband’s I-130 is AWA case too, USCIS denied us and BIA rejected our appeal. We filed a petition for review with ninth circuit appeal court, Ninth circuit transferred our petition for review to AZ district court in July 2015, we wrote several replies to district court but still waiting and don’t know what the district court will say, Please if anyone can help? What the strategy for us to come together?

  5. Mavis,

    I’m so sorry to hear of the heartbreak and difficulties you are experiencing. Please take a look at our “Legal Advice” area and write to Immigration attorney Allan Lolly. He would be most able to answer your questions. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Cases like yours are exactly why we created this page, and are why we continue to fight.

    Darrin

  6. I could probably write a book on the many problems with both the unconstitutionality of the law itself and secondly, the manner in which it is being applied. The results of the USCIS actions can only be described as punishment and while many in the population may root for unending punishment of offenders against children, how many of them are willing to accept punishment for crimes of their spouse? Yet this is the result of enforcing separation of a married couple and often, deportation of an innocent individual.

    What if said spouse obtains a green card in a different manner… say a work visa or through one of the lotteries.. can USCIS step in and take their visa away because they are returning to live with their married partner? They wouldn’t bat an eye at the situation. Therefore, the conclusion is that USCIS does not care about the safety of the spouse. This is evident as mentioned above in that other violent crimes do not invalidate a sponsor. In my case, the victim was of legal age in the state, but as she was under 18, the federal statute overruled and enforced the provision. My wife and I have been married 10 years and she is now 65 years old. What risk is involved? The nature of my infraction would be laughed at by authorities if she were to accuse me of the same action. So what “risk” is there? Domestic abuse? Threat of “risk” by the USCIS is both unfounded and essentially convicting all of us for crimes for which there has been no due process or evidence presented.

    This site is needed and we need to start compiling a list of those willing to join together to fight this as a unified group. I applaud those who are moving forward with individual cases, but feel that we will only prevail if the courts understand that those cases are not unusual.

  7. How much would it cost to hire lawyers and change the law? I haven’t married my fiance because of AWA, and my case involved a penal code thats not even a crime in 48 states. I’m willing to invest and use my network and worth to make change. I worked hard to protect our country and community, its time to prevail. Any good lawyers want to PM me?

    • Hi have you already hired a lawyer? My husband is a low risk but still afraid of being denied for my petition because its so to expensive hired a lawyer

  8. is there an immigration attorney in the Kansas City Missouri or Kansas City Kansas area who has experience with the AWA appeals?

    • Hi Daniel,
      We recommend that you contact an immigration attorney who is an expert with AWA cases as these cases are highly specialized and unique. Attorney Matthew L. Hoppock in Overland Park KS has represented an AWA case listed on our website. Two national attorneys who could likely assist you in a knowledgeable way, are Alan Lolly or Nick Misiti, both are located outside your area but will use local counsel as needed for court filings.
      Hope this helps,
      Robert

  9. I am happy to have found this site.
    I really don’t understand how AWA was ever passed. I see it as racist.
    No restriction for me to marry any american woman with any number of children, but if the woman is not American then I can’t sponsor her and marry her.

    The spin is that if I had done it a few years ago, I would be golden.
    My conviction was in 1986. So to me this is a new additional punishment.

    Wrong, and unfair.
    -Frank

    • Frank,
      I’m glad you found the site, too! When I first ready your comment about the law being racist, I kind of rolled my eyes because words like “racist” are over-used these days. But you are, in fact, absolutely correct! It is racist against the foreign spouses who, by the way, have committed no crime at all. And you are correct in that you can marry any American woman (or man) without issue. In effect, USCIS is telling all registrants that we can only marry a US citizen… a requirement that no other class of citizen must meet.

      As it is for you, so it is for me. My conviction was in 2003 and the AWA didn’t come along until 2 years later. It is absolutely a punishment! Sadly though, it punishes not only you and I (and people similarly situated) but also punished the foreign spouse/citizen for, again, having done nothing wrong.

      Wrong and unfair, indeed. There is a new movement in social media called “timesup” to stop harrassment, hate, prejudice and abuse. We need to lay claim to our part of that movement as well. As US citizens, we need to proudly (and loudly) proclaim that “Times Up!”… these are human rights violations again not only US citizens, but citizens around the world. It destroys families, breaks hearts and violates both constitutional and UN proclamations of equality.

      Welcome to FightAWA.org

      Darrin

      • Thank you Darrin, appreciate your comments. I support not racist, as foreigners and Americans can be any race, but maybe Bigoted.. regardless does not even make any sense with the way it is written and implemented. I still can’t figure out how anything like this got passed.

        Timesup… hmm.. I will definatelly keep that on my radar. The only problem is that most people want us just thrown in prison for the rest of our lives, not even doing research to understand or know the truth.
        The fight continues 🙂
        -Frank

        • And therein lies the challenge… to educate people (including the Supreme Court Justices), that phrases like “frightening and high” recidivism rates are not just an error, but they are wholly inaccurate. Laws established on error cannot continue! You ask how something like this got passed? There you go… erroneous beliefs judged as truth.

  10. So I guess I’m not understanding this as well as I should. If a number of issues in this law is unconstitutional, how did it pass? If a number of these issues in this law are unconstitutional why have they not been tested in court before it passed? And again if a number of these issues in this law are unconstitutional, why are the founders of this bill not being held accountable and why is there not a class action lawsuit brought forth for the number of individuals and families that have been affected. I understand how this is affecting individuals and Families but I do not see where there is an actual movement or lawsuit to join. I have contacted the attorneys of Alan Lolly and have been told to get ready for a long and drawn-out procedure along with the expense of everything involved. It was also mentioned that I could appeal the decision if I was denied a waiver yet I am reading that the decision is not able to be appealed. Before I start this procedure I would like to be more educated about trying to turn the success rate around to a more favorable aspect. Otherwise I feel I will be simply throwing money at a problem that has already been determined as deniable. I also am not sure why, the statutes of this law, is not being argued as unconstitutional in order to produce a favorable outcome. I anticipate your response and thank you for this blog

    • Dale,

      Thanks for writing… I would first like to say that few people I know understand the AWA better than Alan Lolly. I could not comment really on anything and make more sense than he can. I do know that there is an appeal process for the AWA waiver. However, I think it’s the decision on the waiver that cannot be appealed, not on the decision for the fiance visa itself. Again, he could provide better clarity. As I understand it, we apply for the visa, get denied, file an appeal, seek the waiver, and hope for the best. If that is denied, we cannot appeal that decision… to my understanding.

      As far as the why and how this became law, it’s the same basically with SORNA and the IML… these laws pass for a number of the same reasons. First, no one really cares what rights we lose when we become registrants, and the legislators get to use us to show they are “tough on crime”. (Sadly, they are actually using our children for their own promotion instead.) They like to lump us all together, and “damn due process, they’re all guilty!” But probably more legally significant is that the courts say that since these laws “are not punitive”, then other constitutional requirements (like ex post facto) do not apply. In short, if it isn’t punishment then they can do whatever they want. I would definitely argue that these laws constitute punishment, and I’m confident that not one judge would disagree if he were to be held subject to these same laws.

      As to there not being a movement or lawsuit to join, that is probably the case… kind of. There is a movement, albeit a little splintered at times. This is one of the goals of this website; to help bring people together to focus on the problem and create action… not just talk or complaining. The problem is that most registrants do not have the funds to attack the blatant constitutional violations associated with this law. We seem to be gaining some traction in various court rulings, but the change is slow. Additionally, many registrants are so preoccupied with just getting by in a world that despises them that many seem to have little energy for anything else.

      So much of life for registrants is up to chance… will you succeed in your appeal? Will you be allowed to travel to this country or that? Will someone find out where you work and get you fired? Will you suddenly be forced to leave your home? The answer to all of these question is “maybe”. Sadly, there are few guarantees. The only guarantee I can offer is if we do not fight, if we do nothing, nothing will happen and nothing will change. Guaranteed.

      Welcome to FightAWA.org
      Darrin

  11. Thank you Darrin for your comments and your Insight. I caught wind of possible legal litigation coming up in 3 months do you have any information on this and what it involves? Also because the waiver is flat out refused apparently since 2010, the Lolly group or any other attorneys for that matter have had very little success in appealing to the court system to relook at the merits involved when seeking a waiver. Little success meaning that they have had some, but that is the only way from my understanding, that relief for a loved one to enter the country is obtained. I also found in Reading the laws of sorna that they keep saying ” if and offender is required to register”. Now I wonder if a person is off the registry does this help the situation at all. I know there have been a lot of people affected that have been off the registry for a while and as a fact have been retroactively affected by the sorna requirements, but just in reading there are so many inconsistencies, that it seems like no one read this bill before it was enacted.

    • I have no info on the upcoming litigation, though you might check with NARSOL. As you mentioned, there is a limited amount of success but no one can say with any certainty which cases will or will not be approved. Many times, the case itself, depending on how compelling it is, is the determining factor from what I understand. If you are not on the registry any longer, one would assume that would play in your favor, but again there’s no way to know for sure. It all seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? Although it may seem that no one read the law before enacting it, I’m quite sure that even fewer read the IML. It was passed unexpectedly, late at night, with no opportunity for public discussion. Again, legislator often do not care about the constitutionality when it comes to registrants. Even while they are making laws to be punitive, they argue that they are not to protect their image.

  12. My husband and I just got a letter from USCIS for biometric Service for my husband (USC) and also came with letter saying that our case might be reviewed under awa. We are heartbroken. We didn’t know it would be such a problem. We don’t even know how to deal with it after researching on the Internet. I don’t think we even have that much money to hire attorney.

    • Faye,

      Thank you for writing. I am so sorry to hear of your disappointment. You have discovered the evil little secret of the AWA and many registrants are not aware of its impact. Like you and your fiance, my fiance and I found out about this after falling in love. Unfortunately, I have no quick and easy solution for you. Are you both in the US already, or in the same country? You can find solace in that. Your options are few. You can continue with the process that you have already begun and see what happens, and if that doesn’t work your next move would be to file for an AWA waiver which will require an attorney. There are many out there, and you can choose any, but I use Allan Lolly in San Diego.

      There are many court cases at this time, though very few that directly confront the AWA. There may be a couple in the works, but this takes time. I wish I could give you a big heap of good news, but I cannot at this point. However, know that you are not the only couple in this situation and we’re trying to make a change for couples like you. Stay strong, be thankful for the love, and let the challenge strengthen your resolve. While I cannot guarantee that anything will change, I can guarantee that if we do not fight, nothing will change. Hang in there, and welcome to the site. Write whenever you feel the need.

      Darrin

      • Darrin
        Thank you so much for your response. We are currently living in the US we’ve been married for 3 months now but we are together for almost 8 years. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. We had a consultation with a lawyer and know now that it will be a long process. I’m worried about that because I want to get back working again and now that we’ve learned that I won’t get my green card soon, I’m devastated. With my husband is working alone in the family, it would be hard for us to afford the cost of attorney. Also, it’s way worse knowing that I cannot get out of the country to visit my family while I’m in this process. My husband told me to think positive and all but we are completely at sea.

  13. Alexander Gittinger

    Dear Faye,
    I too am sorry to learn about your marriage being caught up in the AWA snag. You are not alone, and even though there are very few options, as far as to make this go away, there are ways to live a happy life despite – on in spite of – this unfair law.
    My wife and I are battling this issue now for 13 years, and while it was tough for both of us in the beginning, we decided to not let USCIS run and ruin our lives and mariage. You mentioned that you are wanting to work, but cannot because you won’t get the green card. Well, we were facing the same problem, and it turns out that as long as your case is pending – which may be for a long time – you can apply for a temporary work permit I-735. You’d have to renew every year and it’s not cheap, but at least it allows you to work a regular job. My wife has been working for the airlines for 7 years now. Granted, she cannot leave the U.S., which is devastating, but we live a happy and productive life. Once we decided to not let this AWA crap bother us anymore, we were able to move on and find ways to enjoy life and each other. Even though we can’t travel outside the US, we travel a lot. We are in the process of buying our own little airplane and explore the many beautiful sites in the US.
    As Darrin mentioned, there are many court cases at this time, and more are in the process of getting filed. It is only a matter of time until they will have to abolish Title IV of the AWA, and we’re all there to support each other in this fight.
    So don’t despair. You’re not alone, and there is a solid network of support available for you.

    Alex

    • Alex

      Thank you so much for your information. We would definitely look into the temporary work permit. Now my question is you said that you and your wife didn’t let USCIS run this matter, than how your case is still pending? I’m asking this because me and my husband are still thinking that should he go to hus biometric Service next week or not. Thank you so much for your help. This site is the only way that makes my head up. I appreciate everyone in here.

      Faye

    • Alex
      Additional, how I can apply for temporary work permit? I did some research, it didn’t come up. I’m not sure if I was looking at the right place.

      Faye

    • hi alex so what is the status now of your wife? me and my husband are under awa also ive been waiting since 2015 for there response

    • hi alex? in under awa also its been three years since we response to my notice but they not yet response to is? do you mind asking whats the status now of your wife? thank you

  14. Alexander Gittinger

    Hi Faye,
    What I mean to say is that we don’t let USCIS ruin our lives, just because they decide to let us wait forever for a decision. They don’t care how we feel, so neither should we give them the satisfaction of feeling bad. They would not even know, because these officers who decide are more afraid to lose their jobs than making humane decisions and do what’s right. So, “right” is a very relative term here.
    As far as the work permit is concerned, you might want to hire an immigration lawyer for that, because the filing can be tricky. The official document (the work permit) is the form I-735. It will now take about 180 days to get an approval. I used to be 90 days, but this new administration is doing everything in their power to make life as hard as possible for those not white, male and American. (This opinion is not necessarily the opinion of all involved with FightAWA. .org)
    Alex

  15. Alex

    Thank you so much for replying back. Me and my husband are in progress of looking for an affordable and knowledgeable attorney in our area. And I agree with new admission right now, immigration laws seem to change every month.

  16. I’m so glad I came across this site today whilst researching AWA . My husband and I got married last year and started the Immigration process for me to return to the US . I’m still in the UK . A friend found out about this law and we are devastated. Numerous calls to USCIS and still no answer. We haven’t been denied yet but when researching we realised most cases are . Now in the process to find a lawyer who can advise us , how much it might cost is giving us sleepless nights . A process we thought straight forward has turned into a nightmare

    • Hey Silke,
      Thanks for writing. You are absolutely right… a situation that seems simple and straightforward seems suddenly complicated and very challenging. While there are no guarantees, I encourage you to push on through the process. Allan Lolly in San Diego is a great attorney and resource. The cost varies by attorney of course, but between $5-10k should probably be expected. There are many court cases waiting in the wings on these types of laws and we hope they change soon, but legal changes are often not quick. Don’t let USCIS get in the way of your love or your dreams, to the extent that you are able. We’re all dealing with this law in various ways. Welcome to the website, and feel free to contact or write at any time. We will prevail.

      Darrin

  17. Where can I find a citation of link to the USCIS statistics cited in this post? I would like to use them in a legal brief I am writing on this very issue.

    • Please contact Bob Franks (Bob Franks ) as he is the author of this article. He may be able to provide you with the stats. Thanks for visiting our site!

      Darrin

  18. I have notice the patron how to beat the “no risk”? I am taking third time evaluation test. U til I found this talking about 400-600 tried and failed. There are Gender Studies for Men talking about jail time. That got me attention if I apply for “first time offender wavier”, if it approve. Then I no long worry about taking evaluation test for “no risk”. Men had to go to jail or prison 1.6 time longer than women. If I am woman, I am qualified to apply “first time offender waiver”. I am wondering how many women who had sex or rape of a child that apply for “first time offender wavier” to be able to apply for ‘family-based petition’?

  19. Hi everyone
    First, I’m glad to be here with you guys
    Second, I’m not well in English, so if I write something wrong I’m sorry.
    Me and my bf have been together for almost 5 year but he is sex offender but he said its misdemeanor that he can remove this in after 2 year. And I dont understand about his case too much bcuz of my English even if he always tell me about it. And we plan to get married next year,but I’m scared that I wont get a green card. Like anyone said I wanna visit my family and travel outside the us so bad. Idk what to do. We used to call to the lawer and she said his case can applie me green card but I’m still unsure
    Thank you for reading this

    • Welcome to FightAWA!

      Don’t worry about your English… many of us can’t even speak it well ourselves, much less write it correctly! 🙂 Whether your bf can have it removed from his record is unknown to me, and depends largely on the state where he was arrested/convicted. I’m sure you miss your family and want to travel, and these issues create difficulty for sure. Your questions would probably be better answered by an attorney, and on this site we quite often refer people to Allan Lolly in San Diego, CA. His email is Allan Lolly . However, there are others on the website; Alex, for example, who may have some experience with your issue.

      Don’t despair, and don’t give up.

      Kindly,

      Darrin

  20. Hi Everyone!

    I am Thankful to have found this site, I am currently looking for a lawyer familiar with AWA case, if anyone can recommend someone it would be much appreciated.

    We file our petition last March for I-130 concurrently with I-485 and I-765, and got the noticed for my husband’s biometrics schedule a few days ago., I been kicking myself for not researching enough about this AWA, but my husband and I decide to fight this to the very end, although money wise we are barely making it but God will provide, giving up is not an option because we have 3 little ones that their life will be uprooted if I have to leave the country, and with the IML now my husband can not even come to visit his children in the Philippines.

    • April,

      Thanks for writing and contacting us! I’m sorry that you found out, like many of us, that the AWA causes trouble for these types of relationships. Many of us did not know until AFTER we’d already fallen in love. Many, like you, have decided that failure is not an option and are committed to working through it all, but I’m sure there have also been many who gave up. It’s not easy, but I encourage you to keep moving forward and keep the faith.

      As far as an attorney goes, I always recommend Allan Lolly in San Diego. He has a very thorough knowledge of the law, is very helpful, and is a quality person that you can trust. There are others available, but I’d recommend him. Any time you want to write, feel free and we’ll see this thing through together.

      Kindly,

      Darrin

  21. Darrin,

    Thank you so much for replying, and I did look up Allan Lolly, I live in Pennsylvania though, but I see he has an office in NY. i hope he is not that expensive, what makes me sad is the possibility of not being able to go home to visit while waiting for the decisions that could take several years. tomorrow we will go for my husbands biometrics, does anyone know timeline after they send you NOID or RFE?.

    Thank you,

    • April,

      Allan should still be able to help. Call his office at (888) 483-0311. You’re right… now that you’re here, with this law you are basically held “prisoner” in the US until this is resolved. You are now being forced to choose your husband or your family, and that’s just not right. It is, however, the reality. Hopefully by posting this letter, we’ll get a reply from someone who knows more on the NOID and RFE, or you can speak with Allan.

      Darrin

      • Hi Darrin,

        First I am happy to let you know that my work permit was approved, after so many readings about AWA cases with actual experiences from people online I kind of gave up on it being approved so it was quite a surprised when I got my approval notice and then my Card and SSS card. I have not heard anything else after my husband’s biometrics last May. I called Allan and left my info with his assistant but they never did called me back. At first the though of uprooting my 3 kids (all under 7) and growing without their Father was really devastating, but after a while being back home is not really such a bad idea, we just have to look at the positive side, my kids will know my side of the family and when they are older they can always come here to visit their Dad., so now we are financially, mentally and emotionally preparing for that Plan B and I read that I might be able to get a waiver for my husband to enter my country for visits ,the only problem is he is still in the registry, reason also why I don’t have much hope with my case because his offense is quite recent, we got married in 2012 we didn’t file paper work right away because we started off really rough. he lost his job a few months after we got married, while I was pregnant so it was financially impossible at that time, then he was charge with a second degree misdemeanor in 2014 for inappropriate behavior. he got sentenced only in 2016 spent 11 mos in jail and now have to register for 25 yrs. We got pretty much all the paper work needed except for the polygraph but we paid for it already, he is done with all counseling last April.

        I am just grateful that I can now work and able to save money for Plan B, and have a license to drive, not that it stops me from driving before, perks of not living in the city I guess.

        Will update this site of the outcome of our petitions once we hear anything, might take years or so.

        April

  22. Dami

    Hey Darrin,
    Good I found this site, I and my husband have been together for over a year and later I found out about his sexual offender , he was later jailed and now I got letter from uscis that he should come for biometrics, though we are separated now but I’m so confused as to what to do. Pls I need an advice , should I get a divorce cuz he seems to have lots of criminal records.

    • Thank you for writing, Dami. I’m sorry that you’re going through all of this right now. I know it’s hard and it’s confusing… and scary. As to whether you should get a divorce, I am not qualified in any way to advise you on such things. I’m not going to say anything about any of that. This is more of a website to help people specifically with the Adam Walsh Act and the challenges it presents, not so much a relationship/marriage counseling website. All I can tell you is there are a lot of things to consider, and it will take patience, honesty and persistence. You are looking at two completely different issues, although they are inter-related. Feel free to ask questions about the AWA. If you need help with sex offender registration issues, contact the people at NARSOL. (narsol.org). I wish you the best, Dami.

  23. I am a RSO since 06/2007 in California, 288c lewd acts with minor. I I met my fiancé in person in Hong Kong 🇭🇰 01/2018 we have retained a lawyer Immigration in Los Angeles to help us file fiancé Visa i129-f, and we will be filing soon. I am tier-1 sex offender 288c my fiancé & i are beyond devastated after learning that my case is AWA. We are praying to Jesus for a successful outcome and we have given it to god. We are not giving up and I hope everyone here gets approval to be with their fiancé. She is in Thailand and I’m in LA we are Stable & faithfully in love. I hope we get approved, I will update our case when USICS processes out Visa app.
    Sincerely
    Adrian

  24. Hi there, after reading all the comment from all. I have the SAME problems with you all. And Allan Lolly is still working with me since 2012. Here I am still in America. Frustrated….. Appeal to denied….. New filling to Appeal…. To Denied and then filling again…… And again. I’m waiting until my husband gets off registry and i can have hope, which is another 4 more years. So hopefully the law change before. I just don’t know what to do. It is so hopeless. Does any body know if after you get so many appeal and denied, you will get deported?? On Awa????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *