- USCIS, Congress
Don't let government take my wife!
My marriage has become a beautiful story of love pursued around the world and against all odds: I met my bride, a Shanghai-based flight attendant making international flights with a Japanese airline, while she was walking on the beach at Santa Monica. We dated for several months, and every time she made a trip to the USA, I looked forward to being her tour guide. Finally I did my share of the traveling, and went to China to request her hand in marriage. Then she came all the way to the East Coast to meet my parents in North Carolina, and to see where I was raised. Finally I flew back and stayed with her in Shanghai while we organized our wedding. We made plans to celebrate with her friends and family, in 3 different cities.
From that point, things went dramatically sideways. My passport was seized due to legal complications back at home. I had to make an emergency trip back to the USA. Once again, she followed me around the world so that we could be together. Ours is the exact opposite from a marriage of convenience.
My "legal complications" arose from a case back in 2002 in Ohio, which resulted in my being registered as a sex offender. (A long story: visit http://gregkendall.com/ for full details.) The alleged crime was not a violent offense, nor the kind of offense which would make me any apparent threat to anyone in the world. Certainly not to my fantastic and beloved wife. Fact is, I shouldn't even be on the registry, but for the moment I am stuck with that bad status, the label and its stigma in society. As you can gather from my website, it has never been a secret. I am actively trying to call attention to the injustices already suffered, and to fix things so that nobody else will ever need to face what I've experienced.
Currently my government intends to take away my wife.
Only because my wife is from another country, has this marriage of ours become vulnerable to government interference. Denying the merit of our relationship is clearly discriminatory and unconstitutional. Our marriage is no less sacred than between two citizens. It is inviolable. Tell the USCIS to honor our vows.
We have only until November 15 to gather preliminary support for this petition. After that, we must submit our paperwork to USCIS to arrive by November 18, and then their decision about my wife's Visa will be finalized. There is no possibility of extension or appeal. Please help us to reach a goal of 10,000 signatures before the middle of November 2011.
- USCIS, Congress
I just signed the following petition addressed to: USCIS, Congress.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Service [USCIS]:
We must address the unfairness of provisions in the Adam Walsh Act [AWA] which CAUSE COLLATERAL DAMAGE TO THE FAMILY of a sex offender. If our laws overpunish an offender I disagree, but I can understand. When they harm the offender's family it becomes a travesty of justice.
Whenever two U.S. Citizens decide to get married, it doesn't matter if one or both of them happen to be registered sex offenders. Government has no basis to intervene. ...BUT... Strictly because my wife is from another country this marriage of ours has been subjected to government interference. There is no reason why a marriage between two U.S. Citizens should stand, whereas the same relationship between a Citizen and a Foreigner should be impeded.
Moreover, society and lawmakers should find it laudable when an offender attempts to stabilize, to settle down and get married, to pay necessary fees and obligations, to dutifully submit stacks of detailed forms reciting family connections and financial history and employment and place of residence, to seek government approval for lawful conduct. Government cooperation with such constructive efforts would obviously reduce any potential for recidivism.
Whilst the AWA awards the USCIS sole discretion to deny family-based petitions for sex offenders (and also to approve them) it becomes your duty to take an ethical stand, creating public USCIS policy to disregard sex offender status in your consideration of immigrant visa petitions. Sufficient power is in your hands to halt the AWA's encroaching treachery against human rights, in this one crucial regard.
Of course it remains a proper safeguard, that your office convey the sex offender's status to the intended spouse, thwarting any attempted deception. And where any marriage is discovered to be on false pretenses or for nefarious motives, you would deny it; as with any other fraudulent petition. Certainly it is not only sex offenders who submit these. But where both partners remain willing to love each other in a valid marriage, their deep loyalties cannot be set aside in favor of an arcane legal technicality. To deny the merit of such petitions is clearly discriminatory and unconstitutional. Marriage is an inviolable and intensely personal human right. There is no rightful policy but to honor all wedding vows alike.
Upon reaching 100,000 signatures, we will ask Congress for an amendment of the Adam Walsh Act, nullifying any infringement upon the institution of marriage. Meanwhile, these onerous judgments fall to your discretion alone.
Don't let your agency disavow the sanctity of marriage.
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