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General News

The U.S. Congress Has Successfully Extended the “Megan” Franchise

We lost the battle, brewing for some eight years in Congress, which will effectively stop those of us, U.S. ‘registered sex offenders.’ from venturing beyond our own countries. The enactment of International Megan’s Law is not the end of the war, however, as we are fighting back against this injustice in the courts and, to the extent that we wield any influence, in the media.

The bill was signed into law by President Obama February 8th of this year and will stoke the fire under the simmering cauldron which ‘child sex offenders’ are forced to inhabit and further diminish our already depleted portfolio of rights.

To capsulate the highlights of the law (and which I see as the nadir of a once free society):

  • It will criminalize the act of traveling outside the U.S. without prior notice and permission from the government. Ten-year terms in federal prison await those of us who fail to do so.
  • It will obligate the Department of Homeland Security to notify foreign governments of the anticipated travel of U.S. ‘child sex offenders’ and encourage those governments to do what they will with that information, whether that be to slam the door in our faces or something even worse.
  • It will obligate the Department of State to revoke the passports of U.S. ‘sex offenders’ and require them to reapply for new ones with a designation affixed to each indicating its bearer to be a ‘sex offender.’ [Note: this provision is not limited to ‘child sex offenders’ but includes all ‘sex offenders.’]

There are a number of other details, none of which ameliorate the law to our advantage, which provide a structure for carrying out this mission or which specify the information which the ‘sex offender’ must provide before travel, such as detailed itineraries, purpose for travel, places one intends to stay, etc.

So much for spontaneity in travel! Of course, that assumes that there are countries that will let us in the door in the first place.

Here’s the funny thing: perhaps the most important aspect of this law, the notification of foreign governments of the intended travel by U.S. ‘sex offenders,’ has already been the practice of the U.S. Government for some three years. The U.S. has been issuing these foreign notifications, in the absence of any clear authority to do so, and Registrant travelers have already been turned away in droves by many countries, some of which have, coincidentally, explicitly (and very recently) announced laws forbidding ‘sex offenders’ from entering their countries.

So, the peculiar thing about this new law is that we already have a very good sense of how it will play out and the results, so far, aren’t pretty, with many Registrants facing humiliating refusals at foreign ports of entry and being made to get on the first returning flights to the U.S.

Exceptions to those countries routinely turning away all Registrants, however, appear to be some Western European countries such as The Netherlands and France (but not the U.K., of course). Many other countries, particularly Asian and Latin American countries, as well as Russia, have joined with the U.K. in refusing entry to U.S. ‘sex offenders.’

The eerily-named governmental consortium called ‘The Five Eyes,’ which consists of the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had already been turning away each others’ ‘sex offenders’ for many years now, a fact which provides some strong clues as to the origin of this more recent global expansion of the policy of internal exile for ‘sex offenders.’

The critical component, which is facilitating this worldwide travel ban, is the international police agency, INTERPOL, which has openly lobbied for such bans. This is an agency which deserves far more scrutiny than it once did when it was mostly a sleepy backwater in danger of complete irrelevance. It has been completely made-over by the most powerful governments who comprise its membership and the new INTERPOL is very muscular and frightening, indeed. If ever there were an entity deserving of a full-on paranoid conspiracy theory, INTERPOL would be it.

The only way that we know anything about the fallout from our government’s extant policy of notifying foreign governments of U.S. Registrants’ travel (which predates the recent law, not yet in effect) is from the message boards at California RSOL (CARSOL) where several of us started discussing this looming issue some three or four years ago.

The only way we knew which countries were barring us was by simply attempting to travel to those countries and then reporting back to the CARSOL discussion forum. The U.S. government neither informed us ahead of time that it had begun notifying foreign governments of our ‘sex offender’ status, nor did it provide any reports of which countries had been refusing us entry. The results of this program, however, soon became quite evident as more startled and alarmed Registrants took to our forum to report recent frustrated attempts at travel.

We are preparing a country-by-country matrix based upon those attempted travel experiences that will be available shortly. Nevertheless, the information in that report will exist only because individual Registrants reported their experiences to the CARSOL message board and, as such, that information will almost certainly be incomplete.

If this is sounding a bit like a grassroots effort to fight back against an ugly, unfolding (and uncommunicative) juggernaut aimed precisely at us, then you are right.

From what I can tell, our group, alone, has been gathering the appalling details of this secretive regimen and exposing it to the light of day although we now have the satisfaction in knowing that they are beginning to be known more widely, thanks to a handful of media reports.

I am encouraged by the individuals or publications which have begun to respond critically to IML such as Lenore Skenazy (Free Range Kids), David Post (of the Volokh Conspiracy, now part of the Washington Post), Reason Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Slate Magazine, Counterpunch Magazine, and the Washington Times. No, they’re not overwhelming in their number, but striking in their willingness to break both the complicitous silence and the flip-side hysteria which has gripped the press for so long when the subject is ‘sex offenders.’

This development, i.e., the enactment of International Megan’s Law, perhaps more than any previous outrage against Registrants, appears to have helped many to find their voices and to raise them in protest against the continued degradation of ‘sex offenders,’ including those who are not themselves Registrants.

So, while IML has not quite merited a full ‘news cycle,’ it has aroused something which I find intriguing, even promising: the emergence of individuals and groups willing to speak out against the shrieking unreason which has dominated the ‘sex offender’ public discourse for decades.

Just as importantly, we are not taking this terrible law laying down, either. We are challenging International Megan’s Law in the U.S. Federal District Court of San Francisco, having fired our responding salvo immediately after the cowardly, former constitutional law professor, President Obama, signed the bill into law early last month.

The California Reform of Sex Offender Laws and its Director, attorney Janice Bellucci, representing four unnamed plaintiffs, filed the civil rights lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of IML on a variety of grounds, including as an abridgment of First and Fifth Amendment rights and the clause against ex post facto laws. Those plaintiffs represent something of an overview of ‘child sex offenders’ whose circumstances raise different or distinct constitutional issues, such as the right to travel in employment or the right to live with or visit family members.

Since the appalling, and completely un-protested, ‘Protect Act of 2003,’ which made it a U.S. crime for an American citizen to travel overseas and to have ‘illicit sex’ with someone under the U.S. age-of consent of eighteen and which also forbad Registrants from sponsoring foreign-born spouses for U.S. citizenship, there have been a number of American Registrants living overseas in their spouse’s country, their spouses having been kicked-out of America by that law.

Now, with IML, those Registrants find that they are being deported by their spouse’s country back to the U.S. and are prevented from living with, or even seeing, their own spouses and children, who cannot join him in the U.S. due to ‘The Protect Act.’

One of the plaintiffs in the challenge to IML is from that category of persons caught in the double-bind of two terrible laws. Another has lost his livelihood after being permanently barred from business travel.

A temporary injunction, barring the U.S. from further notification of foreign governments of the status of U.S. Registrants as well as halting the issuance of ‘sex offender’ branded passports while our lawsuit is in play, has also been filed in the Federal District Court in San Francisco, although not yet granted.

Our lawsuit also offers the possibility of challenging, not just International Megan’s Law, but the entire system of sex offender registration itself, in light of all the terrible things which have happened since SCOTUS, in Smith v. Doe, upheld the constitutionality of sex offender registries back in 2003 when it held that registration was ‘regulation, not punishment’. We now have lots of examples of ‘punishment’ which have been the product of that decision, just some of which are in full view in the challenge to IML.

We now await word from the court granting us our injunction and for our lawsuit challenging IML to wend its way through the courts, a journey which we suspect will take us to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I must say, I’m savoring the opportunity.

By David Kennerly

 

Join the discussion

  1. new york city sex offender level one

    Of all the thousands of sex offenders in the US how come we didn’t use this link https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call
    and protest to the ‘man’ in the White House?

    • PK

      We did use the link and hundreds of the contributors on this website wrote to the President. You were not here and you missed the episode.

  2. Will A

    Obviously the “law” requires listed people to notify the criminal federal government of intended foreign travel. But I had not yet seen anything that said “permission” was required (other than needing a passport in the first place). Surely the process was not intended to be that a listed person notifies them and then they can approve or deny the travel, right?

    F the illegitimate, illegal, criminal federal government. They lost my support long, long ago and I can’t imagine will ever regain it. They are following the drastic trend of the U.S. in general and are getting dumber by the day. I wish them the worst. People who support them are not my fellow citizens.

    • David Kennerly

      In the respect that one cannot travel without first giving notice, it is a process of obtaining permission. Without first doing so is “impermissible”. I would say that’s “permission”.

      • Frank

        And if you are refused permission or are turned around at the port of the destination country, is this not “Punishment”?
        More Ex post facto.

        • Will A

          It’s punishment just have to tell them in the first place. F the criminal, nanny big governments.

      • Will A

        I see what you are saying. BTW, I should have mentioned first in my last post that I thought your write-up was very good, with many good points.

        I personally would not use “permission” in that way though. I think most people would take that to mean that you tell the government that you intend to travel and that they can then tell you “no”.

        I see your posts all over the place and appreciate all the fighting you do. Just know that you are morally correct and just. You are fighting against immoral un-Americans.

  3. Pat

    There are millions who probably aren’t “supportive” of the federal government for different reasons, 700,000 alone are registered for life. The laws in this country contradict each other. When I heard you can vote at age 17 in Ohio, I noticed the age of consent is 16. To follow that logic, two people over the age of 16 can legally have sex in Ohio, but “across the street” (state border-line(s) it is illegal. This subject is decided by the states individually, which doesn’t make any more sense than having the same rules in 50 states. The “lack of” support is growing, for different reasons, this is never considered as more and more laws are slid through in a bill with something else.

  4. Stephen

    Our Forefathers would be breaking out the Tar and feathers. I’ll keep the rest of my thoughts to myself.

  5. James

    This is a serious question, even though I realize that at this moment in time, there may not be any actual answer…still, I must ask:

    Under the IML, who do I give 21 day notice to? My local Jurisdiction or some Federal Office?

    The truth is I may have to begin, soon, giving notices…some of which will be good, meaning I will travel on the proposed dates, but many of which will be bad, I will not travel on these dates in that my schedule did not fall in place.

    I can envision giving 10 Notices for one actual trip that occurs.

    I would hate and be embarrassed to burden my local jurisdiction where I register…but if that’s what they want, that’s what I’ll do…rather than having the poor woman at the counter sign the Notice, (a request that I believe will be denied), I think I can ask for and get the Notice, (which I will generate), Date stamped and just leave the Original with the woman, or on the counter.

    Though more distant, I would prefer doing this with the Feds…

    The truth is, I still do not know what is required of me, where do I give this notice?

    I also do not think that the UK is as problematic as many are saying. I copied the UK rules from here, (I did fly into London three times in 2014)
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    You will also want to read the UK immigration rules here:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/422941/20150406_Immigration_Rules_-_Part_9_final_v4.pdf

    Read this part:
    Grounds on which entry clearance or leave to enter the United Kingdom
    is to be refused
    (1) the fact that entry is being sought for a purpose not covered by these Rules;
    (2) the fact that the person seeking entry to the United Kingdom:
    (a) is currently the subject of a deportation order; or
    (b) has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of
    imprisonment of at least 4 years; or
    (c) has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of
    imprisonment of at least 12 months but less than 4 years, unless a period of 10 years
    has passed since the end of the sentence; or
    (d) has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to a period of
    imprisonment of less than 12 months, unless a period of 5 years has passed since the
    end of the sentence.

    So if you were sentenced to less than 12 months then after 5 years the UK won’t automatically deny you clearance to enter.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^

    Any advice on how and where to give Notice would be appreciated.

    Best Wishes, James

    • Commenter1

      James,
      The US Attorney General has not published anything yet as to the time and manner for this advance notification. Until this happens it is my belief that you should continue to abide by your own state law with regard to what it may say about notification for travel. IML does not say that the advance notification will be 21 days although I assume that since the SORNA supplemental guidelines call for states to do this it might end up being 21 days. However at this time it is unclear how this will be accomplished in states that are not SORNA compliant. There is no federal office that I am aware of that is currently capable of collecting such information directly from registrants. You can read more about this in the latest bulletin from the SMART office — http://www.smart.gov/pdfs/IML-Dispatch-2016.pdf

      • James

        Dearest Commenter1:

        Thank you so much for that link…from it, I quote:

        “The SMART Office is not authorized to collect or receive
        notifications of international travel from anyone,
        including individual offenders, attorneys, or registration
        officials. If an offender wishes to make a notification of
        international travel pursuant to IML’s statutory
        requirements, that offender must report it to his or her
        registration agency.

        Can the SMART Office Advise a Sex Offender
        about Whether He or She Has to Provide
        Notice of International Travel?

        The SMART Office cannot provide any legal advice as to
        whether an individual is required to provide advance
        notice of international travel based on the provisions
        contained in IML. Offenders concerned about the
        application of IML to their particular circumstances are
        encouraged to contact their local registry officials and/or
        an attorney for specific legal advice.

        The SMART Office also cannot provide any legal advice
        as to whether an individual convicted of a sex offense is
        required to register, or whether a particular jurisdiction
        requires advance notice of international travel.”

        I have gone back and read in detail the CA Registration form all of us sign in CA….most of it relates to any additional addresses where we…”Regularly Reside.”

        In travel, one never “Regularly Resides…” anywhere so I don’t see any State Notification Requirement at all.

        There is the semi-famous case of the Gentleman that spent many nights sleeping at this Girlfriend’s residence…and so he was in violation…I understand this reasoning, it makes sense, (though, of course, I disagree with the entire registration regime!)

        Be that as it may, this being a serious conversation, I do note that Number 11 on the CA Registration Form reads:

        “If I move outside of CA, I am required by federal law to register in the new state within 3 working days.”

        I assume that, “move outside of CA,” has its common sense meaning, I change residence by moving outside CA…not simply that I Physically crossed the CA border…

        Given all of the above, I don’t think I have any obligation to give any notice whatsoever.

        As to the 7 day absence from my real and permanent Address as noted in SORNA and maybe requiring Notification…CA is a non-compliant state…and so I have no obligation here either?

        (I understand that this is a long post…but I am trying to add some substance and clarity to conversation…as you have, thanks again)

        Best Wishes, James

        • Timmr

          “I assume that, “move outside of CA,” has its common sense meaning, I change residence by moving outside CA…not simply that I Physically crossed the CA border…”
          From what evidence can you assume the word “move” means to law enforcement to change residence and not physically relocating yourself? Is it defined anywhere in the law? Or precedent? I think it is your word against any DA that wishes to prosecute you. The argument would kind of end up like that recent discussion on the Supreme Court between Soto Mayor and Kagen on Scalia’s semantics.
          Any way you look at it, this is a burden and has a chilling effect on the legitimate travel of registrants, and should be fought somehow. It would be wise in the mean time, wherever you go to carry Janice’s or Chance’s business card with you as peace of mind.

        • James

          Dear Timmr:

          I appreciate your thoughts on this. However, sometime relatively soon I hope to get down to the Federal Courthouse and politely, but with some insistence, try to find out what this means.

          I thought No: 11, that everyone has to initial is fairly clear, but, after your thoughts, maybe not…so I will bring this up too.

          The problem is that I have to find enough time to again go through the IML actually legislation as well as the AMA and understand what I will be asking about.

          On some level, none of this can coherently be understood, (I believe), but but one should try to have these laws down cold as much as possible before questioning them even semi-informally.

          I would also like to file some FOIA requests on myself. From being here I have come to understand that I had to have been one of the first targets of this damned Angel Watch thing, which, imo, is as bad as the IML. (people seemed very aggravated that even after several hours of questioning and searching there was nothing that could be done…)

          Most of us, myself especially, just really want to get on with life, (as well as possible under our current restraints), and keep our heads down…

          That may not be possible anymore…

          Still, all of this will take time…and I don’t want to be obsessive about it…but it is something that may have to be worked on whether or not I like doing so.

          Hummmm

          Best Wishes, James

        • Timmr

          Thank you James for digging deeper into this. I don’t think we can assume anything about the wording of these laws, without knowing what the government thinks the words mean, based on their actions past and present. That is one part. The other part is what are we going to do about that once it is known?

        • Will A

          F the not-SMART Office. They refer to people on the Nanny Big Government (NBG) list as “sex offenders” and “offenders”. I’m not either. And I will tell them that every single time that I interact with them. My legal sentence ended over a decade ago. So F them. They are offenders however – active and illegal – NBG criminals.

          Anyway, I don’t know that application of this P.O.S. IML has much to do with whether or not the state you live is SORNA compliant or has any laws about travel notification. The federal government can pass laws which apply to all citizens in the country. Individual states don’t have to agree with them. I can’t imagine this federal law would be affected by any state law unless the federal law said it was.

          But of course a person needs to figure it out. I wouldn’t expect any help from the criminals who actually created the law or enforce it. I think until a Registered person figures out the situation for himself/herself, then he/she should assume that it applies to him/her and report any intended international travel to his/her local criminal regime. I would do it in writing and retain proof that it was done.

  6. PK

    “Now, with IML, those Registrants find that they are being deported by their spouse’s country back to the U.S. and are prevented from living with, or even seeing, their own spouses and children”

    I would like to hear more specifics about RSO’s who have been living with their spouses overseas for years, are now being deported.

    Which countries are deporting?

  7. kelnothiding

    wail this is very sad for these people and there poor familys , it dose seem to open the door to put a stop to all this crazy unjust punishment , I am sorry for all these citizens

  8. Two states east

    To Commenter 1 : 21 day notification…Non-compliant SORNA State has already done this ! Last year’s SB-5154 now law in Washington State.

    Because California is so solidly against AWA/SORNA, it’s understandable to not be aware of the “other” battle going on : SORNA kickback grants : Most non-SORNA States are STILL getting the supposedly gone 10% JAG money !

    Basically, SORNA says if you are TRYING to implement their stuff, they will award a kickback grant that covers that particular effort. For example, a few years ago Washington used kickback grants to help their financially strapped Indian Reservations implement their Federally mandated obligations.

    But make no mistake, the US Solicitor General dep’t watches the kickbacks closely. Last year, New Mexico got caught with relatively minor mistakes, and got audited.

    Between the kickbacks and the 10% penalty in general, non-SORNA States are pressured. So what happens is a give and take : The States give their State Patrol advocates something from time to time. In Washington they gave the 21 days busness in the form of SB-5154 (But they are firm NOT to give up risk evaluation v conviction based listing approach ! )

  9. Mike

    I flew into Mexico like 12 times from 2011 to May of 2013. I am not sure what occurred but when I flew from MX to the US for some medical appointments and then flew back in April of 2015 I was met at the airport and returned. It made no difference that my vehicle and a whole house of furniture and much equipment was left in Mexico, I was returned. That was probably $20,000 worth of property. I got my vehicle and some equipment back but that cost me $2000 but my furniture I had to leave. I sold it for a small fraction on credit which I have not received a peso or a dime to date. That should qualify as harm.
    I also left a fiance and now have learned that I can not assist her in getting a visa but I guess that is not harm either.
    We need for 60 Minutes to do a show about all of the myths and misinformation that has driven all of the SO hysteria. I pray for the injunction.
    Is there anyway to find out why I was allowed to fly into Mexico all those times but suddenly I was denied?

    • PK

      Mike the same thing happened to a lot of us regarding Mexico. There is a huge thread on this “Denied entry into Mexico”.

  10. Rob

    David,

    I truly enjoy reading your articles. They are very well thought out and written . You do an excellent job of setting the stage for IML and discussing the implications and conveying our emotions. We are fortunate (unfortunate that you have to register) as a group to have someone who can take their thoughts and put them down on paper so well.

  11. Anonymous Nobody

    The whole approach to the suit seems underdone to me. Even if you win, too much remains anyway. You are going at it too narrowly, missing important crap it imposes on registrants. And I have pointed out before, it is quite unimportant whether their is a registrant mark on the passport, as they are planning to send all the criminal records anyway, and that will get you rejected just as fast as any mark on the passport. And now, everyone applying for a passport will get the third degree check about any registration matters — we do not need more checkpoints, they only lad to trouble. Passport consideration should be only whether there is an arrest warrant out for you, or whether you might have limitations from parole or probation. I can absolutely assure you, that new checkpoint will create problems — believe me, they aren’t adding that behind the scenes just because they have nothing else to do.

    But I find very good suggestion of a broader approach in the statement:

    “Our lawsuit also offers the possibility of challenging, not just International Megan’s Law, but the entire system of sex offender registration itself, in light of all the terrible things which have happened since SCOTUS, in Smith v. Doe, upheld the constitutionality of sex offender registries back in 2003 when it held that registration was ‘regulation, not punishment’. ”

    I note, in California, the “punishment” decision was based on a misdemeanant, who the court pointed out wasn’t even on the public list of registrants. That is, it was based on a case where the party was subject to the least of the least punishments, and that was ruled not sufficient (actually, registration itself is punishment, just having to do it and in such a tight time frame, just being humiliated by that Scarlett Letter, whether the letter is invisible or not).

    And yes, since that California ruling upholding registration as not punishment, a TON of even more serious punishment has been added yet not ruled as to its status as punishment.

    • steve

      Seems to me all of these laws were based on the “governments interest” to protect society. However that “interest” was based of off false recidivism reports and fairytales. I hope we hammer home that the government interest is no longer valid backed up by government statistics and world renowned experts on the subject.

  12. Stephen

    Fill out the travel form to say you’ll be homeless while traveling.
    Also has anyone ever walked across America when moving?

  13. David Kennerly

    Errata:

    I mistakenly attributed the ban on Registrants sponsoring spouses for U.S. citizenship, not to the Adam Walsh Act, which is where it was established, but to the Protect Act which made no mention of it. My thanks to a keen reader for catching this mistake.

    Here is how the paragraph should have read:

    “Following onto the appalling, and completely un-protested, ‘Protect Act of 2003’, which made it a U.S. crime for an American citizen to travel overseas and to have ‘illicit sex’ with someone under the U.S. age-of-consent of eighteen, the Adam Walsh Act of 2006 forbade Registrants from sponsoring foreign-born spouses for U.S. citizenship. Since then, there have been a number of American Registrants living overseas in their spouse’s country, their spouses having been kicked-out of America by that law.”

    My apologies!

    • PK

      Hi David Kennerly:

      You wrote:
      “Now, with IML, those Registrants find that they are being deported by their spouse’s country back to the U.S. and are prevented from living with, or even seeing, their own spouses and children”

      Could you provide specifics about RSO’s who have been living with their spouses overseas for years, are now being deported back to the US?

      Thank you!

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