Adam Walsh Act – Immigration

Steven Gaskell, Psy.D. Adam Walsh Act, Immigration, Sex Offender Recidivism, Sex Offender Risk Assessment, Sex Offenders 4 Comments

Adam Walsh Act Psychological Evaluations - Immigration - Forensic Psychologist

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Steven Gaskell, Psy.D.

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Dr. Steven Gaskell is a forensic psychologist who performs a wide range of forensic psychological services including the psychosexual assessment of sex offenders and sex offender risk assessment.  This post explores the Adam Walsh Act as it pertains to immigration as well as what is involved in Adam Walsh Act psychological Evaluations.  Dr. Gaskell performs comprehensive Adam Walsh Act examinations for persons in all states provided they come to Psycholegal Assessment, Inc. office locations in either Chicago, Illinois or Atlanta, Georgia.  Please call 630-903-9193 for a free consultation.

Adam Walsh Act Waivers – Immigration

Immigration-Adam-Walsh-ActThe goal of the Adam Walsh Act is to protect children from sexual exploitation and violent crimes, 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 Adam Walsh Act pertains to immigration in I-129F – petition for Alien Fiancé and I-130 visa application – petition for alien relative.  If the citizen has a prior sexual offense it could adversely impact the ability to have such immigration requests granted.  The Adam Walsh Act added a provision barring a United States citizen who has been convicted of a “specified offense against a minor” from having a family-based visa petition approved unless the Secretary of Homeland Security, in the Secretary’s sole and unreviewable discretion, determines that the citizen poses “no risk” to the alien beneficiary.

Title I of the Adam Walsh Act, the “Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act” (“SORNA”), defines a “specified offense against a minor” to mean “an offense against a minor that involves any of the following”:

  1. An offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving kidnapping.
  2. An offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving false imprisonment.
  3. Solicitation to engage in sexual conduct.
  4. Use in a sexual performance.
  5. Solicitation to practice prostitution.
  6. Video voyeurism as described in section 1801 of title 18, United States Code.
  7. Possession, production, or distribution of child pornography.
  8. Criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, or the use of the Internet to facilitate or attempt such conduct.
  9. Any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor.

For Adam Walsh Act Immigration cases, the citizen must submit evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she  poses no risk to the beneficiary.  The UCIS wants information all known factors that are relevant for determining whether petitioner poses any risk to the safety and well-being of the beneficiary including, but not limited to:

  1. certified copies of police reports and court records related to the offense (e.g. presentence report)
  2. Trial transcripts – describing nature and circumstances surrounding the specified offenses against a minor and any other criminal, violent or abusive behavior, incidents, arrests, and convictions.
  3. The terms and conditions of the sentence, release, parole, probation and any other related requirements set forth by the jurisdiction where the petitioner resided since the conviction(s).
  4. Certified records indicating successful completion of counseling or rehabilitation programs (e.g., sex offender treatment).
  5. Certified evaluations by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, or clinical social workers that attest to the degree of the petitioner’s rehabilitation or behavior modification; such evaluations should include an assessment by the author/clinician concerning whether the petitioner continues to pose a risk.
  6. Evidence demonstrating intervening good and exemplary service to the community or in the uniformed services.
  7. Documentation that he or she submitted to the requirements of the National Sex Offender Registry

To prove that he poses “no risk” to the beneficiary, the petitioner could submit certified records reflecting his successful completion of counseling or rehabilitation programs; certified evaluations by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, or clinical social workers that attest to the degree of his rehabilitation or behavior modification; and evidence demonstrating his good and exemplary service to the community or in the uniformed services.


Sex Offender Evaluations

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Areas of focus of Adam Walsh Act Psychological Evaluation

Adam Walsh Act Psychological Evaluations are quite comprehensive and take place over at least 3 sessions with the client.  Dr. Gaskell reviews all factors that are relevant for determining whether the petitioner poses any risk to the safety and well-being of the beneficiary.  Documents are reviewed including police reports, court records, sex offender treatment records, Department of Corrections disciplinary history, probation or parole records, and character references. 

Psychological testing (e.g., MMPI-2 RF, PAI, STAXI-2) is given to assess for overall behavioral and emotional adjustment; adaptive and maladaptive personality characteristics; appropriate anger control, management, and expression; level of behavioral constraint; proneness to externalizing acting-out behaviors; level of impulse control; and quality and stability of relationships with others.

Psychosexual testing is given to assess the level of sexual deviance, accountability for offense behaviors, and progress in treatment.

A comprehensive sex offender risk assessment is completed, which is anchored by actuarial instruments (Static-99R, Static-2002R) and fine tuned with Stable and Acute risk factors (Stable-2007, Acute-2007), and other research based risk and protective factors.  A spousal assault risk assessment is also completed with the aid of the Spousal Risk Assessment Guide (SARA).   

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Comments 4

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  1. Good evening:

    Would you happen to have any referrals for psychologists who may conduct this type of assessment in NY?

    1. Post

      Unfortunately, I do not know personally any other psychologist that performs these evaluations. I have evaluated people from several states and they come to one of my offices either in Chicago or Atlanta. If you have clients with the means to travel for their evaluation I would be able to do them.

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