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International Megan’s Law: One Year Later

One year to the date of its enactment, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) reports that the International Megan’s Law is already having the intended effect of reducing the threat of child sex tourism.

     Smith, who authored the bill, met today with a delegation from Thailand who expressed deep gratitude for the enactment of the law. During the meeting, Ambassador Pisan Manawapat, joined by representatives from the Royal Thai Police force, indicated that in Thailand alone, over 160 convicted sex offenders were caught trying to enter the country. Worldwide reports indicate that 1,780 notifications of pedophile travel have been sent by 64 countries, with a particular emphasis on countries known to be primary destinations for child sex tourism.

     “This important legislation allows governments, in the U.S. and around the globe, to know when convicted pedophiles on sex-offender registries are traveling to other countries,” said Smith. “Information is power and the interest of protecting children remains at the core of both federal and state Megan’s Laws.” Press Release by Rep. Smith

Join the discussion

  1. Shaking my head

    So, what they are saying is that every sex offenders they stopped from entering thiland, was there for sex tourism? No evidence to support his claim. Ridiculous.

  2. Steve

    What an absolute lie. 1780 “pedophiles” He is running scared putting out false information because of this ruling.

  3. Jack

    Give it two more years Smith. You’re done.

  4. Political Prisoner

    160 Convicted sex offenders where caught trying to enter the country, But what proof they were entering to commit any crimes and what proof they were true pedophiles.

    • DavidH

      and why the word “caught” I bet they were flying in like anyone else

    • David

      So Smith has a psychiatric diagnosis for each of those 1,780? It is, after all, a specific diagnosis.

  5. New Person

    Recidivism rates anyone?

    BTW, did IML change their law so that John Doe #2 isn’t reported any longer since he doesn’t have to register?

  6. FRegistryTerrorists

    Chris Smith is a lying scumbag. We need un-Americans like him out of our country.

    All good Americans should do anything legally possible to lower the qualify of life for un-Americans like Smith, their spouses, their children, their friends, and anyone who supports them. They are enemies of all good Americans.

    The SORs are doing a great job of dividing America between Americans and un-Americans. Let’s all make sure that we help it. There are tens of millions of un-Americans living in our country that should be treated like the terrorists that they are.

    • Jack

      Right on FRegistryTerrorists! Just right on. Wow you said exactly what I’ve been thinking since the election.

  7. Joe123

    This is a very mis-guided law. I will be writing to this representative to express my strong disagreement with how they are applying this law, and I strongly encourage all who read this comment to write as well. There are already laws in place that catch the dangerous people, and we don’t need a giant net that will punish innocent people after they’ve paid their dues to society. It is Absurd that someone with a label of having any kind of a ‘sex offense’ is scrutinized more than someone who has committed major or violent crimes.

    • commenter1

      If you write to him you need to use an address/zip code from one of his New Jersey districts or he likely won’t look at your email/letter.

  8. T

    What a hypocrite, for Smith spreading all kinds of rumors, and fallacies to other countries, about registrants that are in Thailand, and other countries etc, for sex tourism and doing all kinds of illegal activities, so they can use fear to manipulate other countries to support the IML, and they don’t care to realize the damage this has done, not only against registrants regardless of what they’ve done in their past, but also nonregistrants too because of mistaken identity and have been stigmatized by the effects of the IML.

  9. 4sensiblepolicies

    Let’s take stock of where we are at one year later. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    A 9th Circuit court judge basically says the IML case isn’t ripe – no evidence anyone has been harmed – not even sure that the individual plaintiff’s have standing (those who were directly harmed by the de facto travel ban). Case thrown out.

    One year later. Certain non-citizens are banned from travel (albeit more of a direct ban than the sneaky backdoor way the IML does it). Within hours, the plaintiff who isn’t even a person, but a state government, makes a claim that the travel ban is harmful. Makes the exact same claims we made in our suit – that the ban is harmful for people traveling for business and family reasons. That there is no evidence that the ban would be effective. That it targets people without regard to whether they constitute an actual risk. Within days, the travel ban is on-hold by the 9th Circuit.

    I choose not to be cynical, but hope this constitutes a forthcoming opportunity. Surely, the courts will ultimately decide that a blanket ban on travel without considering relevant and accurate individual risk factors does not pass Constitutional muster. That is, as it relates to non-citizen visa holders. Once we have some precedent on this, how can they then say that a de-facto ban against registrant travel can be Constitutional? I suppose they could, and then I will join those who believe we are now considered non-citizen with no rights, trapped here as part of the government’s plan to prevent us from leaving so they can persecute us at will. Time will tell.

    • The path to ripeness is still becoming ripe

      There is a way to do which you outlined rather well. It is getting to be the time to take this on. However, as Sen Cruz said last night, he believes this ban would pass muster with SCOTUS. Should this not be held until that time has come at SCOTUS, should it be appealed there?

      Is there anyway any of these 160 can be researched through a FOIA action and see if they are CA residents? If so, maybe more than one hopefully, then a lawsuit can be put together?

      • JohnDoeUtah

        Sen Cruz is a scumbag, just like Chris Smith. The Constitution is on our side, especially now that we have proof that people have been harmed.

    • David

      Unfortunately, there is one notable difference between IML and “the Muslim ban”: the proponents of IML will argue that RCs are not banned from travel. Destination countries are “merely” notified, then each country does what it wishes. (Smith was crafty in writing this ‘around’ the law.)

  10. ReadyToFight

    I think we need Janice to weigh in on stuff like this.
    Many of us are ready to take action (myself included) I don’t recommend doing anything drastic, but I’m also really sick of turning the other cheek to enemies (not people) abusing their power/position to step on a class of Citizen that is forced into homelessness, and hopelessness and or murdered because of a Label. Talking about these Domestic Terrorists
    (Because that’s exactly what they are) is getting really F***ing OLD…

    • David

      @ReadyToFight: Unfortunately, I do not believe people care very much about facts, accuracy, research, or clearly-reasoned arguments. A recent poll by Emerson College indicated that more voters choose to believe the lies of the current WH administration, rather than believe the facts presented by the media.

  11. T

    For a politician to make a claim about “convicted SOs” going to foreign countries like Thailand, etc only for child sex trafficking and sex tourism, is like Bush making a claim about Iraq having WMD, and the smoking gun that could come in a form of a mushroom cloud.

  12. David

    “Worldwide reports indicate that 1,780 notifications of …. travel have been sent by 64 countries…” Inaccurate: Notifications are sent FROM the U.S. TO other countries; they’re not sent BY other countries.

    • Renny

      Not true. Many other nations send out Green notices on their own “citizens”

      The US accounted for 75% of the Green notices sent in 2008 according to an audit. That’s significant, but not 100%.

    • ONE DAY AT A TIME

      A major selling point to Congress on IML was that they are requesting that all other countries notify the United States if any of their citizens traveling here are convicted of any sex crimes. So yes, we are receiving notifications too. I’m sure the U.S. is denying entry to all of these foreign travelers.

  13. kat

    What the hell is “pedophile travel”?
    Rep. Chris Smith is assuming that everyone on the registry is a “pedophile” and that the only reason any registrant would want to visit Thailand is for “sex-trafficking purposes”.
    He needs to pull his head out of his a– and educate himself, (check the DSM for the definition of pedophile Mr. Smith) before opening his mouth and making ill-informed, ridiculous comments to scare the public.
    Not all registrants are pedophiles or involved in sex-trafficking.
    And the registry has not proven it protects anyone.

  14. Public challenge of the facts

    Best bet is to contact the Philly newspaper since his district is near there or the Trenton, NJ newspapers to see if any of them (or all of them, including Philly) are willing to follow up on the claims he made to challenge the claims validity and potential harm done. Maye some independent writer do an article? It could be an award winning piece if done properly.

  15. Chris F

    Obviously, some serious spinning of facts and deceitful wording to cover up the uselessness and harm this IML has and will do.

    “over 160 convicted sex offenders were caught trying to enter the country”
    – But how many of those 160 was there any evidence against that shows they were traveling to solicit sex with children, and how many of those were previously convicted of sex tourism? Most likely none, since sex tourism convictions already take away your passport.

    “1,780 notifications of pedophile travel have been sent by 64 countries, with a particular emphasis on countries known to be primary destinations for child sex tourism”
    – Wrong, there is no “emphasis on countries known to be primary destinations” as they are sent to all countries. Countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada outright deny entry due to the warning even though they aren’t ever considered destinations for that activity.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see the Trump Immigrant ban reversal as helping our cause. It deals with a delay on those coming into our country for fake “national security” reasons. At most, it will point out flaws with how the Executive branch and Legislative branch of the government twist facts and declare something is needed as a “regulation” when in reality the lack of empirical evidence points to it being a wolf in sheep’s clothing to discriminate and not regulate.

    What must be pointed out to the right judges with the right plaintiffs for a good outcome, is that IML unconstitutionally bans our travel by bypassing the judicial path of “due process” where a judge or jury declares someone a current threat to children in other countries, and instead casts a wide brush on all convictions of a sexual nature involving a child and for an arbitrary period of time unrelated to any empirical data or evidence. Instead of our own courts deciding once, at time of conviction, the individual’s circumstances in relation to potential dangerousness, the IML is trying to say that it is up to every other country to do that every time we travel there over and over again. Obviously, no country will extend that effort and risk getting it wrong, when they can simply deny entry. The argument of “we are just giving them the info, what they do with it is their business” doesn’t fly.

  16. Political Prisoner

    Maybe one of the legal type can answer this but a person who suffered harm or a loss sue Chris Smith for damages much like people have sued gun makers and cigarette companies? After all his direct action have resulted in financial loss, emotional trauma, and sometime even slander by labeling someone a pedophile when they are not. After all I had a non-contact/non-victim internet entrapment, but I am not a pedophile.

  17. American Detained in America

    All this really proves is that registered citizens are trying to travel, nothing more.

  18. mike r

    we need to bombard everyone we can with the following link…

    https://youtu.be/GBoy2FB27yg

  19. David Kennerly

    I am hopeful that the current tempest which is the furor over Trump’s de-facto Muslim ban may be useful for those of us fighting International Megan’s Law.

    One such opportunity may be the issue of the President’s intent in issuing such a ban. His previously stated motivations behind the order were brought up at Tuesday’s hearing. The judges noted that Washington state and Minnesota, in challenging Trump’s executive order, had presented evidence in support of their argument that the president intended to disfavor Muslims. The states cited Trump’s campaign statements about his intent to implement a “Muslim ban.”

    We can compare this judicial concern for the actual underlying motivation of Trump’s ban (but explicitly stated on the campaign trail) to the policy of IML which, in its final statutory form, does not purport to ban the travel of registered “sex offenders” to outside of the U.S. but which, nevertheless, does prevent such travel. Indeed, the law cannot “ban” Registrant travel within our Constitutional framework.

    However, that bill’s author, Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, stated unequivocally on the House floor that the bill was to prevent the international travel of sex offenders. He assured those same Thai government officials (who have now publicly thanked him) before the law was enacted that the law would keep “pedophiles” from traveling to Thailand. Indeed, it has.

    This should be one of our arguments in challenging IML.

    • Tired Of Hiding

      If only we could find a lawyer who would attack this from that viewpoint.

      Hard to believe that Janice is the ONLY lawyer in the entire state of California OR anywhere in the USA who can’t find sex offenders to represent to go after these laws from a dozen different angles until we can finally get some facts into the debate instead of “alternative facts” that the government has used for decades – in other words lies!

      I am eager to be included in any suit against IML or registries in general.

      • Jeff nowlin

        I would gladly participate. I’m a 41 year old married father of three. My offense occurred when I was 20 with and underage girl….. Non aggravated. I spent 5 years on bond due to the weakness of the case(met at party, drinking involved, misled about age),although I was definitely guilty and a child resulted from the encounter. Signed for 10yrs probation and was revoked within a year due to the near impossible chance of successfully completing said probation. Ended up sentenced to 5yrs and completed it all. Received 3 trades and 2 associates degrees during incarceration. Within a year of release I was married, starting a family, and gainfully employed making over 80k annually. Of course this employment requires travel as I do specialized machining and installation of parts in electricity generating steam turbines. I have traveled to Jamaica, China, and Korea without issue although acquiring TWIC and Passport required quite a bit of dancing and hoop jumping and returning to the US through customs always includes a stop at the infamous secondary checkpoint, luggage search, computer/phone inspection, and being treated as a criminal identical to the treatment I grew accustomed to during my 5 years incarcerated. There is still a lot of international work that I have to miss out on though due to this screw up I made, completed sentence, and will continue to be punished for for the rest of my life. I can’t live almost anywhere due to city councils expanding on residency restrictions. Where I can live usually looks like a polka dot party on sex offender registry maps and, in turn, puts my children in possible danger and I can’t let them out of my sight for fear of what may happen. The friends they do make are not allowed to visit them, save the rare few who’s open minded parents have taken the time to know me and my story, so they have to go to other’s homes in order to enjoy a true childhood. I’ve been free from incarceration now for over 10 years, zero problems with law enforcement, gainfully employed the whole time, I own 2 homes, 2 new vehicles, and a motorcycle. On the surface, all is well, but the truth is that if I’m not working then I’m a recluse. I’m a low risk offender, lowest possible category, and I’m eligible for deregistration although that too is a joke and only serves to create revenue for a government trying to sell a return to normalcy dream to people they never intend to give it to. Now, with the IML, not only will my ability to continue to support my family be severely limited but I won’t even be able to join them on family vacations outside of the country. It appears that I am now a prisoner of the U.S. for life.

    • David Kennerly

      The following article from “Lawfare Blog” supports this contention (that the IML was malevolently conceived by Rep. Chris Smith and in a way which brings it into disrepute) by analyzing Donald Trump’s country-specific travel ban which was preceded by his bellicose and malicious assurances that he would impose a ban on Muslim visitors.

      As it turns out, Trump DOES have the power to issue such a ban since that power was handed to the President in an ill-conceived statute, “8 U.S. Code § 1182 – Inadmissible aliens.”

      However, Trump, by explicitly and repeatedly stating his intentions to “ban Muslims” on the campaign trail, appears to have undermined his invocation of that statute and his own authority.

      It is this which we should see as an opportunity (among others) for challenging IML.

      https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-read-and-how-not-read-todays-9th-circuit-opinion

  20. Nicholas Maietta

    Murderers don’t get these kind of treatment.

  21. USA

    Great posts! Very informing. I have a few questions: Are the new passports only for child related offenses? Has a person with an expunged offenses been banned from other countries? Has anyone with a non child related offense been stopped from entering another country? Has an individual with a non child related offense/expunged been banned from entering another country? Thank you

  22. ReadyToFight

    ……if it stops just ONE sex tourist!
    But wait…if it stops just ONE suicide bomber from killing dozens if not more human beings……wait…..let’s really think this through…..hold on…..wait……lets see what the constitution says about this okay….lets be practical here…..hold on.

  23. DPH

    Thanks Chris Smith (NJ-04), NOW I will NEVER be allowed to take my Husband’s Mother back to her birthplace nor go with him to see where his families and relatives live. One minded, Pat On The Political Back to himself for classifying and lumping into One Sum alike Ms. Leyva for Cali Schools…they think we have NO LIFE DUE and no regard to Human Rights nor non-continual punishment like the SCOTUS gave their decision years back and put it in STONE. And for all the OTHER FAMILIES that have to endure these hardships and our POTUS (since office 17″) for denial for Families to gain back them from entering their country or return to here. Ignorant and Selfish folk that DON’T look at the details and facts finding BEFORE authoring or signing.

  24. Stumped

    Thank god for dual citizenship, i have seen both sides of how it affects you. I was turned back in 2015 from Mexico and seeing my children in tears and not knowing what was going on, and seeing the helpless face on my wife was one of the most painful days of my life. I felt helpless and had no way of protecting my family as they where left in the airport (connecting flight) to figure things out for themselves. This motivated me to obtain my dual citizenship and have never looked back, I travelled twice last year, in July and December, not one question was asked when entering Mexico either time. When I flew back in to the USA in January I wasn’t asked a single question as I usually get secondary screening, not this time. I still register but my charges where expunged and I received a COR. Go figure.

  25. TS

    International Meagan’s Law Damages a Person’s Reputation

    https://sosen.org/blog/2017/08/08/international-meagans-law-damages-a-persons-reputation.html

    worthy of its own article posting, if hasn’t had one already here??

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