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When the Petitioner's Criminal History Matters: the Adam Walsh Act

What: The Immigration Law Reforms to Prevent Sex Offenders from Abusing Children (Title IV of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006)

Who: Prohibits U.S. citizens and permanent residents convicted of any "specified offense against a minor" from filing family-based immigrant petitions (Form I-130, I-129F, and Petition to Classify Orphan, Form I-600A or I-600)

Specified offenses include:

kidnapping, false imprisonment, solicitation to engage in sexual conduct, solicitation to practice prostitution, criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, any sex offense against a minor, and child pornography

When: Applies to all petitions pending on or after July 27, 2006

Why: Enacted to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse and honor the memory of Adam Walsh and other child victims.

How: If checks reveal that a petitioner may have a specified offense, USCIS will issue a request for additional evidence or notice of intent to deny. A petitioner can overcome the bar by offering evidence to show that there is NO risk to the beneficiary. Homeland Security makes the determination on a discretionary basis.

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