Janice’s Journal: Registered Citizens Trapped in U.S.

Registered citizens are being trapped in the U.S. by the federal government. They are not allowed to travel overseas for business reasons, to visit family members, or just to relax on vacation.

The reason given for this entrapment is to prevent the international sex trafficking of children. We do not support international sex trafficking of children which is a heinous crime. However, the U.S. government is overreaching in the methods it uses to address this real and dangerous problem. That is, the U.S. government is targeting virtually all registered citizens who attempt to travel abroad. It matters not that their offense did not involve a child or occurred decades ago and hasn’t been repeated.

The U.S. government is preventing registered citizens from traveling overseas in a number of ways, including reviewing the manifests for international flights. If a registered citizen is found on such a flight manifest, U.S. government officials provide a written warning to the country into which they are traveling. The receiving country, in turn, does not allow entry into that country and in fact immediately deports the registered citizen.

This all happens with no prior notice to the registered citizen and/or those who are traveling with him/her. Deportation of a registered citizens is embarrassing and expensive at the least and a violation of his/her constitutional rights at the worst.

Where is the due process guaranteed for all citizens by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? If a registered citizen is not allowed to travel outside the U.S., then the U.S. government must provide that citizen with a hearing during which he/she can provide evidence that he/she is not involved and has never been involved in international sex trafficking.

In the absence of such hearings, registered citizens have already been denied entry into may countries, including but not limited to, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.

In one such case, a registered citizen is being denied re-entry to the Philippines where he moved 10 years ago and subsequently married, started a family, initiated a business and purchased a home. He left the Philippines a year ago for what he thought was a 30-day business trip to the U.S.

Several decades ago U.S. citizens, including U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and author Arthur Miller, were prohibited from traveling abroad because the U.S. government determined their overseas travel was “not in the interests of the United States”. Fortunately, the U.S. government corrected that problem long ago.

It is now time for the U.S. government to correct the problem it has created by preventing overseas travel by registered citizens. The U.S. government must either allow registered citizens to travel overseas or conduct hearings that provide registered citizens with their due process rights.

– Janice Bellucci

Read all of Janice’s Journal

Related:

Tag: International Travel
International Megan’s Law / RSO Travel Issues
(ICE / Interpol procedure)

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Has anyone challenged this practice? If challenged, would SCOTUS support this heinous violation of rights? Where is the ACLU on this?
I also have to wonder what the government’s ulterior motive is in preventing registered citizens from leaving the country?? There has to be a profit motive somewhere. Scary…

This one will be tough to defeat.

The US government will maintain that they are simply sharing public information that the receiving country is making the decision to refuse entry, not the United States.

Thank you for your comment Janice.
Long ago I learned that morality and fair play go hand in hand.
And as you point out, our pride in our Constitution and American freedom is only consistent with our adherence to a system of due process.

Janice, who would I contact to help me with travel to Europe (Paris) and a cruise to Alaska stopping in Canada, requiring a passport for booking and reentry? How can I find out in advance before booking the vacation? Has anyone brought this issue before the courts as of yet? This may be an area of victory for our constitutional cause! I’ve been registering in southern California for 33 years and just want to retire with some travel…. Thank you for all your efforts and May God pour blessings upon you and your family.

Does anyone know if they are targeting all registered citizens? I had a battery at a massage parlor that’s since been expunged?

I concur. This is absurd! I plead to a battery/non child related almost 20 years ago/expunged! I have family on a foreign country and a bit paranoid with purchasing an airline ticket and being turned away.

Janice, would you permit the re-use of what you have written? I would like to share this with my congressmen.

This program is supposed to combat international sex trafficking. Sex trafficking has a very specific definition, which the United Nations defines here:
http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/what-is-human-trafficking.html.
Sex trafficking is not equivalent to sexual abuse or sexual assault or viewing child pornography or many other sex crimes. To take away the right to international travel of all 820,000+ registered citizens, rather than just those who have been convicted specifically of sex trafficking, is the equivalent of taking away the licenses of all drivers who have traffic infractions, like those with speeding or parking tickets, in addition to those who have drunk-driving convictions. It’s just overkill. Or in legalese, not narrowly tailored to achieve its objective.

My personal belief is that the feds are just looking for something new to do with their precious sex offender registry — to justify its existence and to keep the funds flowing in — rather than actually looking to combat sex trafficking. If they were serious about combating trafficking, they would not be wasting our tax dollars on this program.

Thank you Janice for your editorial and speaking out on this important issue.

A troublesome aspect of this program is the fact that it was conceptualized and put into place by the DOJ SMART Office – the same office responsible for providing SORN guidance to all U.S. jurisdictions. The very same office that should be responsible for clarifying the truth of empirical data concerning the lack of any connection between the people listed on the registry and exploitation of children abroad. Instead, this office sits back and allows law-makers to believe they are making a difference in combating child exploitation with this program. There is no empirical data that shows registered citizens of the US registry are responsible for exploiting children abroad.

Ironically, when married to a foreign national as many of us are, this program hurts not only the targeted registered US citizen but victimizes our family members as well. Our family members include women and children – the same category of people the politicians and influence peddlers are claiming to protect. When the government intrudes into our personal life to separate us from our families as it is doing here, it leaves the wife without a husband and the children without a father. This program does not help children, it actually harms them.

Steve: I’ve actually visited Canada 3-times! My charge is expunged. Although, when re-entering the US, I’m stopped and the run me

Actually, the US government is NOT preventing registrants from traveling overseas, at least not directly. They are simply sending info, not telling the receiving country to send them back.

But we have multiple reports on this Website about the content of the information they are sending. That content certainly is legally libel! They apparently are sending very little about the offense, maybe simply saying a “sex offense,” and not clarifying that it was just misdemeanor indecent exposure or whatever it might be nor that it might have been 30 years ago. AND, they are adding that the person is traveling to that country for the purpose of committing a sex offense! They don’t know anything about the traveler’s purpose, they haven’t even asked or otherwise looked into it! That is outrageous to say, and definitely libel. And if they really know that, then how can they allow the person to leave in the first place?!

If you were told that that is the purpose, how can you let the person in?!

Nonetheless, to send anything is wrong. Oh, again, maybe for someone on parole, but even then, since the parole officer will have had to OK it, then why does the US feel a need to send anything? (I know the answer, see my comment above – it is out of hate, it is a hate crime, hate libel.)

Mind you, the other countries do not require the US to send this. In fact, the US is now trying to get it put into an international treaty that will require it, thus giving protection to the US in a court challenge.

I have given various thoughts about this and how to attack it in other threads for some time now. For one thing, we need to know the specific law being used to justify this – it appears that for now, that might be the Patriot Act (which is up for renewal in June).

There is a bill in Congress now to specifically instruct to do it, and to my reading, it does actually appear to dramatically reduce to whom this would be done — but I still contend it should not be done, even if only to FORMER child molesters and very high level FORMER offenders. It should not be done any differently or more than any other felony and certainly should not be done to any misdemeanant — that is was a sex offense should not make any difference.

But about that bill, the language is not so precise as to avoid interpretations that go against us. It says the checks and information would only be for those offenses listed in the Adam Walsh Act, and California makes a LOT more offenses register than does the Adam Walsh Act (which, on an aside, is why I have so many times at this Website urged we go for conformance to federal rather than for the misguided tiers). But that language also is one of the less-then-precise spots, as the Adam Walsh Act lists various offenses, but it also has a clause saying that if you register in one state, you must do so in another you move to even if that state does not require otherwise registration for that offense. So, there is room for aggressive people to argue that that clause means the state decides, and can effectively require the international notice for more offenses than otherwise listed in the Adam Walsh Act.

But that raises another issue: It would be unconstitutional for the federal government to delegate its responsibility for international affairs to the states, and to go by state decisions about who must register would be doing just that. That problem would reach not only this bill going through Congress, but also what they already are doing, apparently under the Patriot Act, as all reports are that they are doing this to ALL registrants, not just those registering for offenses listed in the Adam Walsh Act.

In addition, the US cannot treat similarly situated people differently in this. But, when you have one state requiring registration for offenses a second state does not, what we have now is that those in the first state are being treated much more harshly than those in the second state — what state you are in will determine whether you suffer this notice. That is not constitutional, but the US is already doing that to registrants, and has been doing it for a year and a half now, and no one is challenging it.

I’m sure there is nothing in the Patriot Act addressing sex offenders, yet it seems to have been extended to registrants — and I seriously wonder about the language involved, as that certainly must have been twisted and misinterpreted severely. If nothing else, the courts must interpret law with consideration given to the legislative intent, and the record in passing the Patriot Act would certainly show no intent about sex offenders, ONLY about terrorists, and so interpreting a general comment about, say, “violator,” for instance, could not mean any violator but only a terrorist, because that was the clear legislative intent as shown by the debate during passage!

Another note: Everyone on all manifests for all flights, whether domestic or international, have been getting checked by the federal government since 9/11, under the Patriot Act. But that was supposed to have been to check travelers against the government’s terrorist list. It now appears that that has been extended to registrants fir international trips and to also involve the notice to the receiving country about intent.

In preparing for a legal challenge of this notification it would be important to collect copies of the notices sent out for a number of people who have been barred from entry to another country. This can be done by requesting a copy of the notice under the Freedom if Information Act. There are websites to help with this. A collection of 20 to 100 such notices would be enough to establish what kind of a pattern guides the emission of such notices. Do we really know that they are sent out for every registrant traveling out of the country? Do we really know whether toe contents of all notices are the same? A challenge must be based on accurate information. Writers to this forum can help by obtaining this FOIA information in their own cases and sending it to a sympathetic lawyer – Janice or Chance.

We can not even ride our bike or run across the USA like Forrest Gump.
We don’t have that freedom with out fear of being arrested for failure to register

Some of us, such as myself would love to leave this country and never come back. I can still operate my business from afar, where there are no registries. I know of places where the weather is nice, the people are awesome and believe that a persons past doesn’t make up who they are.

If they (our government) don’t want sex offenders anywhere in the United States (as seen by all the crazy laws), then why not let us leave and ban us from coming back? I’d be totally cool with that.

This issue does not only affect California, or the USA, it affects anyone who can be subject to an Interpol Green Notice. I am a UK RSO and I am required by law to inform the police of any foreign travel, thus I suffer the same notice being sent about myself.

I have never had any intention to travel to commit any crimes and it is a breach of my human rights to say I am traveling with intent to commit further sexual crimes.

Please focus on this issue as it affects Millions of people throughout the world.

George.
UK RSO.

Are we to believe that the 7th amendment is for everyone BUT sex offenders?
” the right of jury by trial shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in ANY court of the united states than according to the rules of common law.”
For those who were tried, convicted, and sentenced in accordance with the in place at that time, how can it be possible to have a “hearing” in a court, for a judge to decide what else shall be required of this person. After the sentence is expired there is no subject matter for a court to operate on. Am I wrong?

The matter has already been examined and decided, no later court has any power over the matter. ??

out of Maine –

CRIMINAL LAW: Punitive Effect of Retroactive Application of Sex Offender Registration Requirements
http://www.nlrg.com/legal-content/the-lawletter/criminal-law-punitive-effect-of-retroactive-application-of-sex-offender-registration-requirements

the court found that the duty to comply with SORNA had been imposed on Doe without a judicial trial (another requirement for a bill of attainder) because at the time Doe was sentenced, his crime was not deemed to be a sex offense and, thus, there was no judicial determination that Doe was a sex offender and no judicial order incorporating the registration obligation into his criminal sentence. Finally, as to the other requirement for a bill of attainder, the court found that the SORNA amendment in question may have targeted a specific group based on its members’ prior conduct

By notifying countries of a sex offenders arrival you will be restricting some sex offenders from entering countries where what they did was not even a crime in that country! The age of consent in mexico varies greatly from 15 to puberty. My crime wasn’t a crime in any part of mexico yet I cannot travel to that country now because of our shameful government.
I can’t travel to canada yet at the time in 2005 my crime in the US was not a crime in canada, that seems to be a retroactive punishment.

Class action lawsuit planned. We all need to support/ join this effort, maybe this can lead to a national effort.
https://www.womenagainstregistry.org/

Janice thank you for this informative article.

My family has scheduled a 10 day vacation at a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas Mexico. I am a registered sex offender from an offense in 2000. I have a US passport and an otherwise glean record.
Should I anticipate any problems once our flight arrives in Mexico?
Does it help to make pre-arrangements with the consulate.

Please advise

Thank you again

I am a 290 registrant and have worked in the swimming pool industry for 15 years. I’ve been promoted to general manager of our company, and need to get a Contractor’s license, which will require a background check and fingerprints.
Am I automatically barred from obtaining this license?

Thank you.