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International Megan’s Law: Bad Public Policy

On Monday, February 8, 2016, President Obama signed HF 515, and it became Public Law 114-119, known casually as “International Megan’s Law” (IML).  The very next day, Janice Bellucci, a civil rights attorney and President of CA-RSOL, filed a legal challenge in Federal Courts in California, citing constitutional violations of the First and Fifth Amendments, and the Ex Post Facto Clause.  After careful review of the intent and apparent effect of this new Public Law, and the arguments raised in the legal challenge, it seems IML is not only unwarranted, but establishes a dangerous precedent.    Full Article

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  1. Q

    This “evidence lacking” is proof that this is a monumental pile of BS.

    “With evidence lacking that the 840,000 current US registered sex offenders are engaged in an international child sex trade, IML has turned the noble intentions of Operation Angel Watch into a blacklist for US registered sex offenders.”

    Kind of makes receiving a COR a symbolic statement and waste of time for those wishing to travel.

    “IML requires notification of international travel for most US sexual offenders, regardless of whether they are currently on a sex offender registry (inconsistent with the stated intent).”

    How can this be done if registration is civil and not punishment?

    Violations of IML have severe penalties. When a registrant applies for a passport, they will be required to disclose their registration status. (IML, Sec. 8 (e)) A registrant who knowingly fails to provide information required for international travel, and engages or attempts to engage in the intended travel, in violation of IML, is subject to fines and/or imprisonment for up to ten years. (IML, Sec. 6, (b))

  2. EnemyWithin

    If only 16% of us have been caught and convicted, then other nations have no choice but to assume that an American passport indicates someone traveling for the purpose of raping children in foreign lands.

    The realization that someone who planned and aided the death of 3000 Americans has more freedom, dignity and respect from the American people than someone who finger-banged a 17 year old really hits hard.

  3. A

    So, in a nutshell… RC’s are no longer protected citizens of their own gov’t but aren’t allowed to leave for the safety of potential victims that aren’t American citizens? I believe the term used in the Rwanda Genocide was “Cockroach” is that what I am now getting from the very Gov’t I pay my taxes to? Talk about taxation without representation. 🙁 I have to admit, just the notion that they have even presented this and for Obama to sign it into law, is extremely discouraging. js

    • PK

      I can’t believe Obama signed this. In the past, I’ve listened to Michael Savage and his thoughts about Obama, and at the time I sort-of shrugged off his comments. For example, when you look at his face, how he has this “evil look”. The fact that he signed this into law, makes me really think about the kind of person Obama is. He was a Professor in Constitutional Law at Harvard. He had to have seen the travesty of HR 515, why in the world would he sign it?

      • Sky

        Obama had to sign it. The bill passed both the House and Senate on a voice vote and, sadly, with very little opposition. It was veto-proof. Republican controlled Congress would have overridden a veto, passed it into law, and used Obama’s veto against Democrats in an election year. And then we end up with President Trump. I think relief will come from the courts. It ain’t over ’til it’s over! Go Janice!

        • PK

          I think Janice IS our only hope.

        • David Kennerly

          Yes, thank goodness for Janice, absolutely! But we had better get out of the habit of waiting for someone else to come along and champion our cause.

          It’s about time that we stepped up to the plate to defend ourselves and our liberties.

        • PK

          Hi how would we defend ourselves prey tell? A Lawyer with a lot of experience, passion, and fortitude is the only way to win something like this.

        • David Kennerly

          No, he didn’t have to sign it; he had every legitimate power to refuse to do so.

          As for it being “veto-proof”, one should consider that it passed both houses under suspension of the rules and with a handful of voice votes.

          Vetoing the bill would have provided an opportunity for the law to have received much greater scrutiny by both of those houses and would also have given the public an opportunity to better understand the issues involved.

          Obama cynically disregarded those opportunities.

          He is as much to blame for this law as is Chris Smith, Paul Ryan, Richard Shelby, et al.

        • PK

          Michael Savage characterized him and his face as the Devil.

        • 4sensiblepolicies

          Agree. Obama’s act of cowardice has permanently tarnished the sense of respect I had for him. Many of these political hacks don’t know squat about anything except pandering to the lowest common denominator and figuring out how to pad their finances, but Obama was a Constitutional scholar.

          Obama knew better, and chose to go with politics over protecting the rights of a diminished minority. He proved that human nature is shallow and self-serving. In essence, he told us that if he had been in office in the early 1940’s, he would have voted for Japanese Internment. Had he been in office in the 1950’s, he would have voted for segregation. He has lost all moral authority to decry civil rights abuse, because he has proven that civil rights are only for those who are not a political liability.

  4. TiredOfHiding

    The absurdity of this unnecessary law is blatantly obvious to anyone who is a thinking rational individual.

    Unfortunately that rules out anyone involved in the government by default.

    Sex offenders are used as pawns for political gain and nothing more.

    Children are the LAST concern of the corrupt officials who use this sort of boogeyman tactics to manipulate parents and others…

    It is time to see reality as it is and that is that our own government has forsaken us and that they have become hostile against us – they have become the enemy. We have to use the same attitude and stance as they have forced on us. FIGHT

  5. Craig

    TiredOfHiding is right, the fight is on, whether this effects all of us is not the point any longer. WE must all come together and make sure Janice and her team have the funds regardless of what we may have to do without at this time. Go out on the streets and beg for it if you have too, pickup cans,metal whatever. We cannot win if we do not fight, the time has come to not take any more crap from these people.

  6. HH

    Remember… This is possibly the gateway to re-opening the entire registry law as a form of punishment. This is so much bigger than travel. It’s so much bigger than a vacation , visiting friends and family. This could ultimately be life changing for everyone. That’s why Janice needs donations. I apologize if I sound like the “fundraiser” but this decision can ultimately alter registration as well.

    • BA

      I agree with with HH we need more funds for more resources, to show opposition to losing our civil rights .I think we should write a letter to 60 minutes and show how this is affecting the lives of ALL relatives of registered citizens. It is heart breaking that registered citizens are not allowed to participate in many of there childrens activities do to so-called (restrictions) locally. All our political representatives need to hear from us daily so they know we are serious about our freedoms.

  7. HH

    Operation Angel Watch , in a recent report , states “Since 2003 HSI arrested 280 child sexual predators for traveling to a foreign country and engaging in sexual activity with a minor”. We are talking 280 cases out of almost a million people. This is pure insanity!

    • brunello

      It’s even more extreme than you make out. We don’t know how many of these 280 cases might have involved a registrant. Let’s make an estimate. Since the 280 cases took place over 12 – 13 years, that total translates to a bit over 20 cases per year. To estimate the number of registrants committing such a crime we could start with the well-known number of 95% being first-time offenses, not involving a registrant. Thus the number of cases involving a registrant would be in the vicinity of one per year. I think even this may be an overestimate because registrants on average no longer have the means for foreign travel.

      • PK

        It is even more extreme than you thought.

        Angel Watch is sending FALSE INFORMATION about convictions to these countries.

        Mexico gave me the letter that they received from CBP which indicated that I was convicted of “Sexual Assault”. In actuality, my conviction was for a “Misdemeanor Attempted Sodomy”. I presented a Certified Copy of my conviction to Mexico, and I presented a Certified Copy of a letter from the State that I now reside, indicating that I DON’T need to register at all.

        Mexico did not consider any of documentation and proof that I showed them, and I was denied entry.

        I still have the letter that Mexico received from CBP, and Janice has it. I’m not sure if this bit of information would have helped with her complaint.

      • mch

        Brunello,
        Excellent point, that translates to .0001% which may, might, possibly, could have been a registered citizen based on the high number of 5%. If it weren’t for the ignorance of the American public and the open pockets of international politicians these idiots at HSI/Angel Watch wouldn’t have a job. How I pray that their lives are miserable and full of grief!

    • mch

      They’re sure doing a bang-up job! Why that a whopping 0.028% of U.S. travelers, or .0028 per thousand travelers. Pathetic, sorry ass losers in the government who have lost touch with reality. Angel Watch is a joke as are the multitude of other heavy handed US policies. Oh that I had enough money to buy my citizenship from another country.

  8. PK

    I’m waiting to see the first post from someone who has returned from overseas and has had their passport seized by US Immigration while returning to the US.

  9. David

    A problem with International Megan’s law that I have not seen brought up is a issue involving Native Americans. I am Native American and don’t need to get Obama care because I use Indian health services. When I go see the doctor or dentist I show my tribal ID card and it also acts as a passport. If my tribal ID is stamped…. Sex offender it could harm me in getting medical care when and if necessary.

    My crime happened almost 15 years ago and it seems very harsh seeing I don’t have enough money to get out of the city let alone be a world traveler seeking out to do human trafficking. lol

    Why on earth punish me for something I have nothing to do with? (Human trafficking)

    • Timmr

      That is interesting. Supposedly, you are part of a sovereign native nation, distinct from the US. Can the IML even apply to you? I mean, how can the US regulate the travel of citizens of another sovereign nation going out of or coming into their own nation?
      Personally, I think the US ought to give the country back to its original inhabitants. We (Europeans and their descendants) have screwed everything up. Everything is owned, the land, the resources, the people. Nothing has intrinsic value. We can’t even be true to the words that our nation has been founded on. Everyone has inalienable rights.

  10. Robert

    PK. I will be back in the states on March 4. I usually fly into San Francisco. I will let you know what happens when I go through CBP inspection

    • PK

      Robert, please do I would appreciate it, and I’m sure everyone else reading this would appreciate it also. I think there should be a separate thread dedicated to issues like this.

  11. Janice Bellucci

    All are welcome to attend the hearing as well as the press conference after the hearing. The time and location for the press conference will be announced later. If the motion is denied there could be acts of civil disobedience. More details to come.

  12. David

    Timmer Native Americans can use tribal ID as passports. It’s called a enhanced tribal ID. Native Americans are not required to get Obama care if we use Indian Health Services for health care. Tribal ID is used for everything. Purchasing gas, food, dentist, buying a home, renting a home, car purchase. Stamping sex offender on a tribal ID would be devistating because a Native American uses it for everything. Even going to school or vocational training requires showing tribal ID.

    In a government effort to segregate Native Anericans they encourage us to live within seven counties of our reservation in order to qualify for many social programs. Imagine if Medicare or Medicade mandated you live within seven counties of a home range.

    I always have said….. The government often tries out things on Native Americans first. I live near Flint Michigan and everyone is mad about the bad water while 60% of Navaho families have had bad water for decades. My crime didn’t happen the way they said it happened. Lie after lie was told about me. I was drunk decades ago and patted a fanny in public and the end result was the sex offender registry. I marvel how most the public doesn’t trust the government until it comes to the sex offender registry. The government told the people of Flint the water is safe when it’s not then told the public I’m dangerous when I’m not. Seems the government has a serious problem with being honest. They tried to save money and hurt a lot of kids with bad water. They been doing it to the Navajo for decades. Google…. Navajo bad water. Lots of dead kids and no one cares.

    • Timmr

      Thank you for the reference. I will look it up. Registrants are not the first group to be marginalized and ignored and won’t be the last. Like I have said before we are invisible. Too bad various marginalized groups can’t find a common ground.

  13. Buzz austin

    On travel I’am a SO with a misdemeanor 314.1 conviction in ca.and have not ever been on a cruise, I was wondering has anybody THIS year 2016 gone to mexico or the bahamas cruising,with out or with a problem. I would be willing to find out how this works but I can”t believe, I live in the US and do not know my rights, or know how to find out????
    BZ

  14. James

    I traveled to Dublin, Ireland in January 2016. I did my homework beforehand, contacted the Irish Consulate, and they told me that because my S.O. conviction was from over 15 years ago, there would be no problem with me getting into Ireland, as long as I didn’t cause any trouble there. So, I bought the ticket, planned the trip, etc. No problem getting on the plane, nor any problem with transferring to the Dublin flight in Newark. However, when I landed and went through Immigration in Dublin, I was pulled to the side, asked about my trip, and then informed I would NOT be allowed into Ireland. They gave me official paperwork which says that any person convicted of a sex offense which results in a sentence of more than 1 year cannot be permitted into Ireland — permanently. Specifically, “the non-national has been convicted (whether in the State or elsewhere) of an offence that may be punished under the law of the place of conviction by imprisonment for a period of one year or by a more severe penalty.” I received a second piece of paper which informed me that according to the Immigration Act 2004, “the non-national’s entry into, or presence in, the State could pose a threat to national security or be contrary to public policy.” I had originally planned on spending two months in Ireland, and then hopping on a plane to Paris for the rest of the summer, but they wouldn’t even allow me to do that. They forced me to return to the United States, where I breezed through immigration in less than 15 minutes, no questions asked.

    The reason I was denied entry into Ireland is because the United States sent my criminal record to Ireland electronically before I even left the United States, with a “suggestion” to deny me entry. Even when you are not on criminal supervision, all sex offenders are required by United States law to inform the U.S. Marshals Service of any intended travel outside the United States, at least 30 days prior. You have to go to your local law enforcement agency, and that agency fills out a form online, the “Notification of International Travel” of a sex offender. If you don’t submit the information, it’s a federal felony offense. The Marshals Service then sends that information to whatever country you have said you plan on traveling to. The U.S. government CLAIMS that it’s just for notification purposes, but we all know in reality that it’s just another way to continue the witch hunt.

    • James

      James, your story is very unhappy and distressing…and since this will eventually happen to me, a few practical questions if you don’t mind:

      1. What does your initial airline do…make you buy a one way ticket…always an expensive propsition…or is there some change fee accommodation?

      2. Did you fly back to Paris after being returned to the US?

      3. This 30 day requirement with the US Marshal is something I have been unaware you of…did you comply? Again, I have not heard of the Form giving notice of International travel, where did you get it, if you filled one out?

      ^^^^

      On a more sensitive note, did you serve more than one year of time? I only did 4 months of work release, but certainly could have been sentenced to more than a year.

      Also, I was fortunate to get the 1203.4…removal of guilty plea and expungement…do you have any of this?

      They didn’t even send you to secondary on your return…that seems…either particularly pricky of them them, they having just screwed you…or something odd in this.

      ^^^

      Damn, bad news all around…my medical Dr. to whom I confessed my problem says…travel the US…which, within reason, I am doing…I had a great 3 inch bloody beautiful steak last night (here, back East), that would have been prohibitively expensive in Los Angles.

      Flirted with everyone, (as is my friendly way), everything seemed so normal…

      And then your report.

      Well, knowledge is power, as I like to say…so thanks for the information and and any more you might provide.

      Best Wishes,

      A Different James…lol

      ^^^^

      Edit: Two months in Ireland did sound like a grand idea.

      Damn! Sorry for your trouble…

      • Doc Martin

        Ireland (which bans abortions) has a culture that centers around large families, children, and the Catholic Church (which include priests)
        So it’s no big surprise they’re paranoid about letting in international registered sex offenders. The country has enough problems tracking THeir own

    • Erwin

      I’m confused. You traveled way back in January before the updated IML went into effect. And this law still hasn’t specified how many days are required for a RSO to give notice of travel. In addition, it’s also dependent on your state being SORNA compliant. If anything, Interpol may have sent Ireland a green notice warning of your travel.

      I don’t mean to chastise you but if you had been paying attention to any of the RSO websites, travelers have consistently mentioned the UK & Northern Ireland being off limits, while Schengen countries are more welcoming. I know Ireland is technically not part of the UK, but it’s close enough. You should have went to an EU country like France then tried to take ferry to Ireland (Yes, you can take a ferry from France to Ireland) It would’ve been less costly if Ireland turned you away because you would have had a plan B of traveling the EU continent. That would have saved on blowing a roundtrip ticket from America to Ireland

    • Doc Martin

      Ireland (which bans abortions) has a culture that centers around large families, children, and the Catholic Church (which include priests)
      So it’s no big surprise they’re paranoid about letting in international registered sex offenders. The country has enough problems tracking their own

  15. brunello

    The President signed the IML bill on Feb 8, and there was a provision to give the agency up to 90 days to get ready, upon which the law would be implemented. The 90 day period expired sometime last week. Does anybody know if the IML is now implemented as law? What are the all-important details?

  16. anon # 213046232-23820202-327

    james: I wonder if you could have traveled to a country that would LET you in, and then travel a day or 2 later to ireland, this way ireland wouldnt know your coming, and you did your duty to the lame evil us government and notified them u were traveling (to the other country)…

    I doubt there is some clause that you have to tell them every country you goto or go through, plus people’s plans change “last minute” emergencies etc. although your probably burnt on going to ireland. Maybe the US Govt should pay you for your return ticket since it was them that caused you to be sent back !

  17. Bill Arthur

    See my comment in International Travel after IML on May 9. At Heathrow they make you return the same day and on the same airline to the exactly the place you flew in from. I thought I could have been granted entry into France and wanted to take a plane from London to Paris, but no. You pay the full “day of” fare on the airline — over $2000 one way for me and my wife. You are required to report your itinerary to the police before you leave, including all the places you will go. Of course, if you are traveling to Europe (Schengen countries not UK/Ireland), you can just report the first place of entry and once you are in you can go anywhere and there’s no passport check or stamp. Please let’s here from people who traveled to Europe (France, Germany, Italy, etc) on recent experiences. I believe they don’t give a shit about the US sex offender registry.

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