The federal government has done it again. They have issued not one, but two, press releases that reveal both the proposed language and the placement of a “unique identifier” on the passports of some registrants. How many registrants? Although the exact number is unknown, it is estimated to include hundreds of thousands of American citizens.
That bears repeating. Hundreds of thousands of Americans will be issued a Scarlet letter by the federal government. A mark that will limit if, and where, they can travel both overseas and domestically.
On what planet and in what country does this make sense? Certainly not in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Americans are travelers. Our country was, in fact, founded by travelers who first explored and then lived in an unknown land. Our country later grew because travelers chose to explore beyond the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.
The reason given for the addition of a “unique identifier” to the passports of some registrants is to protect children in other countries from Americans who engage in sex trafficking and sex tourism. That is a worthy goal. The problem, however, is that “unique identifiers” won’t protect children in other countries because virtually all of those who passports will be marked with a Scarlet letter do not pose that or any danger to children.
Instead, the “unique identifiers” will harm hundreds of thousands of American children who will be unable to travel with their fathers. These American children will be denied the right to visit with their fathers the home of their ancestors as well as to see cultural icons such as the Aztec ruins in Mexico and the natural beauty of the Amazon River. These American children will also be denied the right to visit family members and friends as well as cultural icons and natural beauty in nine states — Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington –that have failed to comply with the federal REAL ID Act and therefore will require travelers to provide their passports.
We are Americans! We demand the right to travel both internationally and domestically.
We will not allow the federal government to further punish and stigmatize hundreds of thousands of Americans by the addition of a Scarlet letter to their passports. Therefore, we will challenge the addition of “unique identifiers” to the passports of any and all registrants both inside and outside federal courts.
The next legal challenge to “unique identifiers” is forming on the horizon. We are bringing together for the first time legal scholars and experienced litigators in order to identify a path to success inside the courtroom. We are also bringing together for the first time advocates and civil rights leaders to identify a path to success outside the courtroom.
In order to succeed in our challenges to “unique identifiers”, we need YOU! We need YOU to show up at future meetings, to stand up at future protests and to speak up when your civil rights are being violated. Together, we can say “no” to the Scarlet letter of passport identifiers!