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General News

HR 515 Articles (Collection – updated 2/8)

All articles about HR 515 in one place

Added February 8

An important step to reduce child sex tourism – Rep. Smith Editorial [Washington Post]

As principal author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 — a landmark law combatting sex- and labor-trafficking at home and abroad — I am deeply concerned that the United States has not done enough to address the rape and sexual abuse of children by convicted pedophiles who travel in secret to countries where child sex tourism thrives. Full Editorial

***

The Long Arm of Sex Offender Laws [Al Jazeera America]

Full Article

***

Pres. Obama: Resist Signing the International Megan’s Law [FreeRange Kids (Lenore Skenazy)]

Who here is in favor of sex trafficking?
Didn’t think so. Me neither. You can be against that crime without using it for political grandstanding and cruel policies. But not, apparently, if you are in the U.S. Congress. Full Editorial

***

Bill to mark sex offender passports raises ire of criminal justice advocacy group [Washington Times]

A criminal justice advocacy group is prepared to sue the federal government if President Obama signs into law a measure requiring child-sex offenders to be identified as such on their passports — a move they say is as hypocritical for a president pushing for broad criminal justice reform. Full Article   (with Janice Bellucci quote)

***

Passport marking for sex offenders would achieve nothing [Monterey Herald]

There’s a lot that Congress is unwilling or unable to do, but it still can achieve one thing – finding a heavy-handed solution in search of a problem. Full Article

***

Congress Votes to Add Controversial “Scarlet Letter” to Passports of Sex Offenders [mic.com]

On Monday, Congress passed a bill in the hopes of ending child exploitation, sex trafficking and other sex crimes. That goal itself is one to which few would find reason to object — but the bill’s critics are wary of the method, not the means. Full Article

***

Added February 3

Do sex offenders deserve a scarlet letter on their passport? [Los Angeles Times]

After rousing themselves from the 30-plus-year bad trip that was the war on drugs — or rather, the war on drug users — many Americans in and out of elected office looked around for someone else to persecute. Someone, somewhere, must be so depraved and hateful that liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans could join in common cause to vilify them. Full Editorial

***

Congress votes to stigmatize and surveil the travel of second-class US citizens [Papers, Please]

Can second-class US citizens be required to carry second-class US passports with a conspicuous stigmatizing “scarlet letter” label? Congress has now said yes. Full Article

***

Obama Could Still Stop ‘Megan’s Law’ From Making Sex Offenders Get Special Passports [Reason]

Both the U.S. House and Senate have signed off on a bill to brand registered sex offenders as such on their passports and require federal officials to notify foreign governments whenever certain offenders intend to travel there. The bill is now on its way to President Obama; it’s unclear whether he’ll sign. Full Article

***

House sends human trafficking prevention bill to Obama [The Hill]

The House easily cleared legislation on Monday to expand efforts within the Department of Homeland Security to track registered child sex offenders’ travel plans as a means of combatting human trafficking. Full Article

***

Senators Kirk, Shelby, Mikulski, & Representative Chris Smith Applaud Passage of International Megan’s Law [eNews Park Forest]

WASHINGTON –(ENEWSPF)–February 2, 2016.  U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and U.S. Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.-04) today applauded House passage of H.R. 515, introduced by Congressman Chris Smith, which puts International Megan’s Law on the President’s desk for signature. H.R. 515 passed the Senate in December 2015. S.1867, the Senate companion bill, was introduced by Senators Kirk, Shelby and Mikulski. –Full Article

***

Bill that would make it harder for sex offenders to travel abroad heads to Obama’s desk [Lawyer Herald]

The U.S. House of Representatives have finally cleared on Monday a bill requiring the government to notify foreign governments when convicted sex offenders travel abroad. The legislation, named the International Megan’s Law, will soon arrive on President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law. Full Article

***

==== earlier articles =====

http://chrissmith.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398682 (Rep. Chris Smith)

http://www.majorityleader.gov/2016/02/01/house-passes-megans-law-to-keep-our-children-safe/ (Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

http://cramer.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/cramer-house-approves-international-megans-law Rep. Cramer, ND

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/bill-make-harder-sex-offenders-travel-abroad-36649663

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/02/house_passes_rep_smiths_international_megans_law.html

http://www.trentonian.com/social-affairs/20160201/congressman-chris-smiths-international-megans-law-bill-will-finally-reach-obamas-desk

Join the discussion

  1. Timmr

    According to the Chris Smith website, this bill will “Collect notification response data to understand which countries are working with the U.S. on preventing re-offense by child predators;”
    What does this mean? If a country thinks this is absurd or violates its own laws and values, and let’s a registered American in, then the US is going to do what?
    Put that country on a list of non-compliant countries?
    Withhold US aid?
    Call them evil?
    When did the US begin to think the rest of the world are its children and it is the world’s parent and guardian?
    This is absurd.

    • brunello

      It’s clear Chris Smith thinks he’s on a roll and he’s not done with us yet. Details aside, the purpose of the collected data must be to put pressure on other countries to forbid entry to registrants. I believe that the EU, in particular, has strong laws against such a practice. Hope so. However, even if entry is possible, the advance reporting requirements for travel while abroad are onerous. Are there strong penalties for deviating from the planned travel? Do you go to prison for up to ten years because you missed a flight? What a fine kettle of fish!

      • PK

        What if you traveled to Country A, then decide while your in Country A you want to visit Country B for just a few days. And then said Traveler decides to fly back to the US from Country B. Would he be arrested and shackled?

        How does that work with the 21 Advance Notice Requirement?

      • PK

        “I believe that the EU, in particular, has strong laws against such a practice” I believe it was Galen who mentioned that countries like Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands are actually against the Registry Laws of the US. But I’m not clear about what action they would take regarding a Green Notice.

        It would be nice if we had more data about Which Countries DO Allow RSO’s to enter their country, as well as those countries that consider on a case-by-case basis.

        • Timmmy

          I saw in another forum where one person was claiming he he mo issues traveling in mainland Europe. He wrote he flew into Germany, and knowing about those notices. He seems to indicate the UK would prevent him from entering.

          I also had replied to you on the Mexico travel section

      • Timmr

        It is more of the keep it vague so the “offender” is not sure what to do, so he will decide not to take the risk and to do nothing, not travel at all–that is the real purpose of this bill to immobilize and contain RC’s. They said as much in their speeches.

        • LM

          You’re exactly right. They want everyone on the list to be denied hope, disempowered and permanently demoralized.

  2. Janice Bellucci

    There is a “new” article published in The Washington Times newspaper which is traditionally conservative. The link to that article is below. The reporter interviewed me this morning and did a good job capturing what I said. We are also expecting an Op-Ed to be published in The Washington Post this week and will add that as soon as it becomes available. With articles like these, it will be hard for the President to ignore the fact that HR 515 is historically significant and that he has a choice to make regarding his legacy – join the ranks of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia or defend the U.S. Constitution.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/3/bill-to-mark-sex-offender-passports-raises-ire-of-/

    • Friend of RSOL

      What’s so frustrating about the Washington Times article and others is the use of the word “pedophile” – of course it is actually NOT synonymous with “sex offender,” although that’s what is always implied when “SO” is used. Almost all reporters just throw this word around, obscuring the very problem with the registry itself – its catch-all, overbroad application.

      Somehow we have to get people to stop using “predator” and “pedophile” when talking about sex offender legislation. Writers seem to think these are thesaurus synonyms they can use to add variety to their articles. The terms are so inflammatory and elicit such extreme emotional reactions it is no wonder little reason is evident in SO laws.

      At least the WT article mentioned Josh Gravens’ situation. That offers readers a bit of perspective on the type of person who is actually on the registry.

    • Timmr

      Yes the president gets thousands of emails a day, and mine has probably been buried under ones talking about Obamacare, but with enough publicity his staff may start filtering out the ones for consideration that have key words related to IML if there is enough “chatter” going on in the media to peak interest in the identifiers. I commented on one of these articles and will do some more… may be a good idea if everyone here makes a comment at the end of these articles? People are saying a lot of good things here, but it is preaching to the choir.

      • Friend of RSOL

        Good point, Timmr. I will try to make more comments on the actual articles.

      • Timmr

        Kind of was struggling with whether my comments were good enough to post, then I just said do it.

    • Advocate for the 99%

      “[President Obama] has a choice to make regarding his legacy – join the ranks of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia or defend the U.S. Constitution.”

      Outstanding quote, Janice. Well Said.

      ~Jeffrey McBride

  3. Jojo

    These laws are all centered on preventing recidivism by individuals who are already subject to sex offense laws, rather than about actually preventing sex abuse. Science shows that the number of sex abuse cases by recidivists are about 4%. We need to educate people (who may have been victims) about the psychological tendencies to reenact their own past traumas and what the signs are that they may be grooming a victim. No one talks about those patterns.

    • Timmr

      I still believe the biggest cause of abuse of children in foreign countries is conflict, poverty, and corrupt officials. I think the congress should quit finding bogeymen and start evaluating its foreign policies in relation to supporting corrupt regimes, endless wars, and the corporate rape of third world countries’ resources. All these degrade the quality of life for all but a few and are especially hard on women and children.

  4. anonymous

    This is a 2 year old blog by someone who experienced it with his contact at the bottom. but interesting and relevant never the less.

    http://fimafimovich.blogspot.com/2014/10/discrimination-of-soviet-jews-and.html

  5. Friend of RSOL

    Wow – that Monterey Herald article is really well argued. That might be a good one to send friends, relatives, and other journalists.

  6. Friend of RSOL

    I wanted to comment on the Monterey Herald article, saying that existing law already curtails the travel of people who have been convicted of actual sex trafficking and sex tourism – and that this legislation is just government overreach and political grandstanding of the worst kind.

    Unfortunately, I already have a Disqus account that uses my real name (set up a while back) and current email address. I don’t want to use that one and I don’t want to start setting up other accounts. I’ll figure something out but I’m trying to balance anonymity with the desire to speak out on these issues.

  7. Jon

    They don’t care, they are trying to eradicate us by any means they can get away with. Like destroying our families so we can’t reproduce… And when we do, they strip our children away saying we are a danger even though we have already finished our time and haven’t committed a new crime in almost 10 years. This scarlet letter is simply its new idea on how to tourcher us with the law. The US is really just a bully that thrives off of picking on anything they can get the people behind to hate. Its always been this way ever since the first settlers landed. First they hated the Indians, then for a loooong time it was black people, then the war on drugs and now us. The US needs someone to hate and ridicule in order to function.

    Yesterday they stripped my wife and I of our parental rights simply because I have a record and my wife wouldn’t leave me. Now she no longer has the right to see her own baby, when nothing has ever been done to her. Their entire argument was that I was a danger to our child, despite numerous psych evaluations saying that I am not. My wife they claimed failed to protect our daughter because she didn’t divorce me. Well they have won, they got everything they wanted. They took our perfect daughter away, and now I am going to lose my wife as well. Now they don’t want me to leave? Its only because its harder for them to torture me if I go to another country. A country where they don’t believe is ripping a child away from a mother when she has done nothing wrong.

    • Jason

      Holy sh*t dude… you serious? I’ve heard about these laws where child protection is notified when an RSO has a kid, but I’ve never heard of an actual case. Can you share more of your story?

  8. Jon

    Look, I’m sorry everyone, I am just in an abundance of pain… My apologies…

    • James

      No problem….your story is so extreme and sad that people probably would like to know more of the specifics.

      But heal the best you can….you don’t owe us anything…but we are curious.

      Good Luck, James

  9. Paul

    This atrocious thing was presented to the President today.

  10. Commenter1

    Please add comments to Smith’s Youtube channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHepol0MS6A

    Also, please click the thumbs down.

  11. EnemyWithin

    I wonder if it might be more effective, instead of trying to block the President signing this law, and I believe he will, would be to instead try to make this law apply to all felons, that ALL US-Convicted felons have their passports marked as such. I do not think hosting nations want an arsonist, murderer or ID thief in their nation anymore than a sex offender. Especially with the dangerously high recidivism rate of those types of criminals.

    Equal protection might apply tangentially here, maybe, not sure. but if a sex offender presents the danger of predictive future crimes based on past statistics, then surely all the other criminals present just as much of a predictive future danger.

    We can then encourage hosts of American travelers to assume that all Americans are sex offenders, since the FBI states only 16% have been caught. That means that host nations should start to assume that all Americans are child molesters and rapists, just to be safe and to protect their children. If just one child is protected by assuming all American travelers are sex criminals, then the cost is worth it.

    There is nothing stopping all sex offenders and their families from contacting the nations of the world to warn them of the massive amount of undetected sex criminals and other criminals from the US that might in their nations and that they should do what is required to protect their kids and their people. If a few hundred thousand sex offenders start emailing and writing the leaders of other nations and warn them of this very real danger, it will get someone’s attention.

  12. Timmr

    I should file a petition with the UN after this passes. Eh, what can it hurt? Thing is, I haven’t traveled and experience firsthand the effects of this so called Angel Watch. Maybe I should get a passport after this passes and try to travel, for evidence?

    • Jason

      @Timmr

      You should try! Have you read Julian Assange’s recent petition to the UN? They ruled in his favor. You can read the petition here: https://justice4assange.com/IMG/pdf/assange-wgad.pdf Here is the website for the group that ruled in his favor: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Detention/Pages/History.aspx You have to show that the sex offender registry is arbitrary detention. He was able to show that him willingly living in the embassy of Ecuador to avoid arrest was considered detention.

      Obviously, their decision is non-binding, but it would be great to have on record to help petitions for visas and asylum in foreign countries. It would be on record from the UN that the US is detaining people with no criminal charges or due process.

      • Timmr

        Hey, I was just watching the news about Assange and the UN Committee on Arbitrary Detention, and I had the same conclusion. One can make an argument we are being detained in our country as a result of a situation created by our country’s government.
        The form is readily available but like I said, it would be more effective if it came from someone who had actually attempted the travel. Still, I will try. I wouldn’t mind getting anyone’s opinion on what should go into such a petition.

      • Friend of RSOL

        This is an excellent idea, Jason and Timmr – and we need to contact Human Rights Watch as well.

      • Friend of RSOL

        Human Rights Watch article on Assange and the UN Committee:
        https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/02/05/assange-following-rules-or-flouting-them

      • Friend of RSOL

        Sorry for the multiple posts.

        Human Rights Watch media contact information:

        Press Desk
        Tel: +1-212-216-1832
        Fax: +1-212-736-1300
        Email: hrwpress@hrw.org
        Skype: hrwpress

        Emma Daly
        Communications Director
        Tel: +1-212-216-1835
        Fax: +1-212-736-1300

        Minky Worden
        Media Director
        Tel: +1-212-216-1250
        Fax: +1-212-736-1300

        Address:
        350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor
        New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
        Tel: +1-212-290-4700 (Main Number)

  13. PK

    I found this article in a couple of places. It appears things are progressing however slowly:

    http://www.newswest9.com/story/31160703/more-than-20-texas-town-repeal-sex-offender-residency-law

    • Jason

      Unfortunately, in this story, towns aren’t having a change of heart, it’s that their town ordinances violate higher laws. They either have to repeal the laws or they will be forced to later in an expensive lawsuit.

  14. steve

    I hope someone is writing a respond to Chris Smith’s editorial.

  15. steve

    Excellent Al Jazerra article. It talks about supreme court cases that it’s a fundamental right to travel but the government can restrict travel ……BUT:

    “However, in each of these cases, the passport ban is only in effect until the individual in question has settled their legal issues.”

    In our case it’s LIFETIIME with no chance to “settle our legal issues” i.e…no due process.

    • Timmr

      The article gave me an epiphany. Right now we are hearing about registrants being denied entry into the foreign country. This law goes beyond merely asking that the traveler be turned away, as the article explains:
      “The International Megan’s Law will facilitate preemptive action against all of these ex-offenders — without considering the specifics of their crimes — with the intent enabling officials of foreign countries to take “actions that they deem appropriate to ensure public safety,” as the Government Accountability Office put it in a 2013 report. At best, this will involve denying qualifying offenders entry into their country of destination. At worst, the law will subject U.S. nationals to surveillance, harassment and entrapment by foreign law enforcement agencies with questionable justice systems.”
      Now let’s try this scenario: an ex offender who has a child related offense of a homosexual nature travels to a country in Africa. 38 countries in Africa criminalize homosexual activity and the penalties are long prison terms and sometimes death (http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/11/14/senegala-s-criminalizationofhomosexualitypartofaregionaltrend.html). The traveler is detained and questioned and it is determined that the crime was homosexual as well as child related. Armed with the belief that the traveler is a monster and confirmed by the US placing the special “designation” on the passport, and given the green light by the US to do what is necessary to ensure public safety, would not the foreign country think the US is given the country a suggestion that the traveler may be imprisoned or even killed according to its law? Not too outlandish is it, since America is known for its practice of extraordinary rendition?

  16. Commenter1

    News out of Washington DC is not good – IML was signed into law by the President today :(. I hope this is wrong information but expect we will see it reflected soon on the news wires.

    • NPS

      Yes. I just read that he signed it. Obama is truly an un-American reincarnate of Adolf Hitler. I know we’re supposed to maintain civility and respect, but I just do not respect this president any longer. I’m truly disgusted with his latest act.

      http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/02/obama_signs_international_megans_law.html

      • IgFigBloo

        Regarding that article, I actually had a short dialogue in the comments with JESSICA KANKA Megan Kanka’s Sister.

        Her statement: “Her life is over, ours is ruined and you sick people worry about the rights of pedophiles. Give me a freaking break”

        When I replied to her comment that not ALL Sex Offenders are pedophiles and go after children,

        She replied in a garbled half-sentence that “she” is working to fix the law.
        “Not ehat law was intended for. Working to fix it”

        I wonder what she wrote to President Obama and how she stated her case that IML is fundamentally unfair.

        • Timmr

          I don’t think she will be able to tame the monster law that was created to fight the monster, and ate more people than was planned, but I give her credit for taking a bit of responsibility for the law. It is rather a pattern in nature that the end is in the beginning.
          who knows but the end of this madness will only end where it began, in the words of a frightened but brave little girl.

  17. HH

    Yes looks like he signed it today …
    So very disappointing.

  18. 4sensiblepolicies

    Mr Obama,
    With your signing of H.R. 515 (International Megan’s Law), your legacy is tarnished. You have shown that you do not hold strong values for civil rights. You have proven that will waver in favor of politics. You are no better than racists and segregationists of the past, Well, I thought you were better than that. But you are like the rest, and I am now sorry I voted for you. Enjoy your ‘legacy’ of supporting the concept of the ‘second class citizen’ and the destruction of families that ‘don’t matter’ – all because it is politically expedient. You knew this was the wrong thing to do. I am devastated.

    • Harry

      Well, Obama is NOT a leader and he is also, a absolute, traitor to America and I expected this. Actually, I thinks is better, this put the truth in the mainstream and it will be interesting to see how these US Attorneys dance around this without stepping on their tongues, if they can.

    • Timmr

      I am devastated, too, but I refuse to feel defeated by a moral weakling of a president.

  19. Janice Bellucci

    President Obama signed HR 515 into law on February 8. The law will require federal agencies to notify destination countries that registered citizens are coming to visit as well as to require the Secretary of State to add a “unique identifier” to the passports of some registered citizens.

    “The President’s decision, if unchallenged, would require the Secretary of State to add a Scarlet Letter to the passports of hundreds of thousands of American citizens,” stated CA RSOL president Janice Bellucci. “Therefore a lawsuit has been prepared and will be filed on February 9 challenging the International Megan’s Law.”

    The lawsuit will be filed in U.S. District Court, San Francisco, on behalf of four registered citizens. The lawsuit alleges that International Megan’s Law violates several provisions in the U.S. Constitution including the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the equal protection and ex facto clauses. Subsequent to filing of the lawsuit, an application for a Preliminary Injunction will be filed which, if granted, would stop the law from being implemented.

    • Craig

      notify destination countries that registered citizens are coming to visit as well as to require the Secretary of State to add a “unique identifier” to the passports of some registered citizens.

      My Question is who are the some the “unique identifier” will be added to? Also thank you Janice, another donation will be made when I get paid next week.

      Craig

    • Timmr

      Thank you. This is the right response.

    • EUGENE K HOWARD

      Janice Thanks so much for your endless,great, persistent hard work for
      all of us. Really appreciate it!!

      EK

  20. Steve

    Everyone go have a beer and take a deep breath. I am hoping this is the start of the dismantling of the registry. Deep down I want to believe Obama knows this is so overboard that he wants to see this go to the courts…one can dream.
    Seriously though, now what’s the difference between the registry and parole/probation?

    • Timmr

      OK, did that. Also, cursed the President and Congress and whoever else. Now what can we do about it?

  21. David

    There is no difference. It is punishment. Period.

  22. Movingaround7

    I hope you all can help me, I have been trying to find out how to move to washington from california. I am a 290. What is it that I have to do to makw thw move legal. I wont be a transiet if that helps I have an address I can move to when I get there. The laws are way to confusing for me to understand what ai haveto do. Thank you

    • James

      Dear Movingaround7:

      This site, nor posters, are allowed to give legal advice, at least I don’t think so.

      However, not withstanding this and this being understood by you, this is what I would do:

      Before my departure, I would notify my local police of my plans…this is difficult, but you must do it.

      I would also probably also do a pre-arrival call to the receiving police in Washington.

      I would then, when I leave, I would go to my police department and tell them I am moving.

      Within 72 hours, (and no longer!) of arriving in Washington I would do my new registration.

      It takes some guts to be upfront and actually pursue the police on something like this…but you must.

      Good Luck,

      Best Wishes, James

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