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Discussion Points for Punto Legal –May 22, 2019

contextual

1. June 2019 Visa Bulletin.

The June 2019 visa bulletin is out. The cut-off date for spouses and children from Mexico is 1 July 2017; last month it was 1 May 2017. The cut-off date from brothers and sisters of citizens from Mexico remains at 8Feb1998.

On May 17, 2019, the U.S. State Department announced that the family 2A category(spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents) will become current for the first time in many years. Currently, the family 2A category is backlogged approximately 2 years so this is a huge leap forward!

This is great news for green card holders who have petitioned, or want to petition, their spouses and children.

2. Adam Walsh Act.

When I talk to people who want to become permanent residents, I ask them about their criminal history because certain crimes can require waivers or prevent you from immigrating. Sometimes the U.S. relative who is petitioning for his spouse or children wants to know if his criminal history is relevant to the process. I tell them that we have fixed papers even where a citizen -petitioner was in prison. But there is one exception to this rule. It is called the Adam Walsh Act. It imposes immigration penalties on U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are convicted of certain crimes against minors. A U.S. citizen who is convicted of a "specified offense against a minor" may be prevented from filing a visa petition on behalf of a close family member. The law provides an exception only if the immigration service makes a discretionary decision that the citizen or permanent resident petitioner does not pose a risk to the petitioned relative despite the conviction. Here is an example: Robert is a U.S. citizen who pled guilty in 2005 to soliciting a 17-year-old girl to engage in sexual conduct. In 2017 he submits a visa petition on behalf of his immigrant wife. Immigration authorities will run a background check on his name to discover the prior conviction. His visa petition will be denied, unless he is able to obtain a waiver based on proving that he is not a danger to his wife. "Specified offense against a minor" includes all offenses against a victim who has not attained the age of 18 years, especially sex offenses.