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ACSOL

Petition Challenges State Department Regulation

A petition was filed today challenging a State Department regulation that attempts to implement the International Megan’s Law (IML).  The petition states that the regulation, published on September 2, is defective for both substantive and procedural reasons.  In addition, the petition requests that the regulation be significantly modified in order to comply with the IML which has also been challenged.

According to the petition, the regulation is substantively defective for two reasons.  First, the regulation denies passport cards to covered registrants.  Second, the regulation improperly defines covered registrants as anyone convicted of an offense involving a minor although the IML states that only the passports of registrants who are currently required to register can be affected.

“The State Department has made a grave error by issuing a regulation that is broader than the law it attempts to implement,” stated ACSOL President Janice Bellucci.  “The IML does not authorize the agency to deny passport cards to registrants.”

According to the petition, the regulation is procedurally defective because it does not include the reason the agency decided to issue a final rule without first publishing a proposed rule and then obtaining public comments on the proposed rule.

“If the State Department had acted in accordance with the law and published a proposed rule, the agency would have learned of these defects in a more informal manner,” stated Bellucci.

In addition to the filing of a petition, registrants notified several State Department officials by telephone and E-mail last week that the regulation was defective.

“We thank those who contacted the State Department last week,” stated Bellucci. “They were the first to put the agency on notice that their regulation was defective.”

If the State Department fails to reply or provides an unsatisfactory reply to the petition, a lawsuit can be filed in federal district court challenging the regulation.

Join the discussion

  1. Roger

    Excellent work, Janice!

    • Nicholas Noussias

      I would like to receive anything regarding 290 registration , parole requirements to attend sex offender treatment’s for a 37 year old Case. I’ve been in the orange psychological services since Jan. 2016 and yesterday I was told there is no treatment plan. I believe this is yet another way to harass 290 in that since release I’ve had to cancel/reschedule all my doctor’s appointments. I was supposed to have back surgery this past March 2016. The court error at sentence and added three years. So I served over one year beyond my release date. Now the CDCR refuses to grant all Kemper credits. Denying my request for reevaluation of conditions of parole based on hardship ( six hour bus trip for one meeting) extensive medical condition that requires numerous doctor’s appointment and procedures. And the the 290 registerable offense is 37 years old. All they day it’s mandatory. I need help!

  2. David

    Janice, you….are…..AWESOME!!!!!
    Kick their butts!!!

  3. cool CA RC

    I have a passport. Can I be one of those RC to tell State Department that my passport is defective.?

  4. cool CA RC

    Another WIN for RC!!

  5. C

    Janice, you are an absolute saint.
    Thank you!

  6. Anonymous Nobody

    Yes, regulations can be powerful — and wrong. They have leeway, including to interpret and define, but only within the statute. Denying the passport is not in the statute. But this article says they are denying “passport cards,” not passports.

    Well then, will they issue only a passport book to those people — maybe because the book will have the identifier on it that everyone is up in arms about? You have the option to get a passport card or a passport book; the book costs you more.

    If this regulation is simply meaning that you have to take the book instead of the card, that is a very different matter than barring you from getting a passport altogether. Be ready to counter that argument.

    As for the statement:

    “the petition improperly defines covered registrants as anyone convicted of an offense involving a minor although the IML states that only the passports of registrants who are currently required to register can be affected.”

    While I’d have to go find it and read it again, it seems to me the IML states it more narrowly than simply any registrant convicted of an offense against a child. Seems to me it makes that more narrow by also listing the offenses including in IML, not ANY offense against a child.

    I also suspect they will defend by pointing out that of course a covered registrant is a registrant currently registering — they are not a registrant otherwise. It would seem redundant to add in the words “currently registering” when you are defining a covered registrant. There is no other kind of registrant but one currently registering. Perhaps I missed something here.

    • Janice Bellucci

      The federal government does not use the term “registrant” in either the IML or the State Department regulation. Instead, the government uses the term “sex offender”. We don’t believe the term “sex offender” is correct as applied to individuals convicted of a sex offense. Perhaps it is our use of the term “registrant” that has confused you and others. The fact is that the IML clearly states that unique identifiers can only be added to the passports of “sex offenders” convicted of most offenses involving a minor AND are currently required to register. The State Department regulation therefore cannot extend the use of unique identifiers to those who are no longer required to register. That is one of the reasons we are challenging the regulation.

      • Anonymous Nobody

        Thank you, Janice. Yes, that is it, I had gotten so used to our preferred terminology that I forgot they would never use that. Yes, a “sex offender” is not necessarily someone who must be a current registrant.

        And on the other point, are they denying “passports” or “passport cards?” If the latter, then at least you know to be ready for one possible argument they might give.
        Oh, and by the way, bravo to you for jumping on this — although even winning will not serve to allow me to travel, its not enough — details. And I have a long, long delayed trip I kind of have to make now, but can’t, and won’t be able to even if you get what you ask for in this, I will still be blocked.

        • Janice Bellucci

          According to the State Dept. regulation, “covered sex offenders” will be denied passport cards. And the passports that will be issued to the same people will contain a “unique identifier”.

        • Tuna

          Hi Janice,
          when might you be having the ‘discussion’ with the AUSA representing the State Dept that called you, who is the same AUSA as on the IML lawsuit?

        • Anonymous Nobody

          OK, thank you. Then that must be referring to them getting the passport book – they will get a passport.

      • Stumped

        This is all so confusing Janice, so I recently became a citizen of Mexico and hold dual citizenship with USA and Mexico on the purpose of IML and 21 day notice how does that apply to me. I know for a fact that I won’t be denied entry into Mexico by using my Mexican passport (I just went to Mexico in July no questions asked) so even if they put an identifier on my USA passport I won’t be using it to enter Mexico, that being said why would I have to give a 21 day notice if I can’t be denied entry to begin with as Mexican migration law states ” no Mexican will be denied entry”. Also this year I had my cases expunged and just a couple of months ago received certificate of rehab but still have to register? It makes no sense, how can you legally say you’ve never been convicted of such crime but still have to register for it. So technically my passport has to have an identifier because I still register even though my case was expunged and i received certificate of rehab?

      • Joe

        What would you want to bet that they will attempt to include anyone who is no longer required to register in their state of residence, but would be in their state of conviction OR perhaps even anyone who would still be required to register under the provisions of the AWA even if their state of conviction/residence has not adopted it? 😉

        • Anonymous

          I am a 10-year / misdemeanor registrant convicted and living in a state that does not substantially comply with the AWA. I contacted the federal government (SMART Office) regarding international travel restrictions several months ago and received the following response:

          “As long as you are a resident of —–, you are bound by the state’s registration/notification requirements. Generally, misdemeanor offenses are considered Tier I under SORNA, and Tier I offenses under SORNA are eligible for the 5 year reduction (from 15 to 10) with a “clean record”. But ultimately, the state you reside in determines your registration/notification requirements. So, for instance, if you were to move to another state that requires lifetime registration for any and all sex offenses, you would then be subject to that state’s requirements. Same goes for removal from the registry—you will be bound by whichever state you reside.

          “As for international travel, SORNA does require that all registered sex offenders report the intent to travel internationally 21 days in advance of such travel. So, if you plan to travel outside the United States, then you should attempt to report your registering agency 21 days in advance.”

          My interpretation of this is that you are only subject to IML if you are currently required to register in your state of residence. Ultimately IML enforcement appears to fall on the State’s responsibility and there seems to be a great deal left to interpretation (as with all things related to the registry, there is little consistency and significant confusion). Most states still do not comply with the AWA and I expect the same may occur with the IML.

          I contacted my state registry in writing about 2 months ago to inform them of my intention to vacation in another country (with only one week’s notice, far less than the 21 days required by federal law). I have yet to receive any response whatsoever from my state’s registry.

        • Quint

          I _tried_ to give my registering agency 21 days notice. They kept saying, “Just show up within five days.” They said I could actually ‘checkout’ and leave the same day. Talked to three different agencies where I had registered in the past few years. When I finally did leave, they didn’t write down any flight or passport information whatsoever, just “Japan” on my new address.

        • Janice Bellucci

          Please let us know, Quint, if you were able to enter Japan. Unfortunately, many others have been denied entry to that country.

        • David

          My registering agency completed a form: “Notification of Intended Travel”. Do you need a copy (as an example), Janice?

        • Quint

          @Janice: Fortunately, I was granted a visa and residency status last month here in Japan. I moved here permanently last month. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

        • Robert

          This issue was well answered in oral arguments for the Nichols v. US decided in April 2016 by the US Supreme Court. An individual is required to follow state law. It is up to each state to report to the federal level, not the individual.
          https://all4consolaws.org/2016/04/scotus-no-registration-update-required-after-moving-out-of-the-country-nichols/

        • Paul

          My money is that they will take a “one size fits all” approach, and will report everything and anything. Registered…no longer required to register…minor victim…no minor victim…no victim….won’t matter to these people. It’ll take years and years of beating them back in the courts to get it whittled down to what the law actually intended (assuming the law stands scrutiny at all).

          Just my two cents.

  7. Mike

    Great job Janice. I wish we would have thought and had the money to file a suit as soon as the notices began being sent to foreign governments.
    Thanks again.

    • PK

      Mike, as you know the government kept this practice hidden from everyone, so there would have been no way to file a lawsuit against it.

      • Mike

        I would have thought that once the deportations began, that some would have brought suit.

        • PK

          It hasn’t been so much deportation as simply denying entry to RSO’s.

          I think part of the problem is that barely any RSO’s could figure out why there were being denied entry. In most cases the Immigration Agent in the Foreign Country wouldn’t tell them why they were being denied entry.

          I was very fortunate to receive actual documentation about the request by the United States to encourage Mexico to deny me entry.

        • Margaret Moon

          PK, do you actually have a copy of the message received by Mexico from the United States Government? If so, that would be a “handy” thing for Janice to have. Perhaps you could share it with her. ???

        • PK

          Margaret, I felt that way too, if not for the fact that it is actual proof in writing from the Mexican Institute of Migration of the “harm” that was caused by the secret Angel Watch Program.

          Unfortunately, Janice’s Federal Case to challenge the IML did not directly challenge the Angel Watch Program.

          I’ve read the Judge’s opinion regarding the denial of the Preliminary Injunction, and the Judge said repeatedly indicates that there has not been any harm committed by the IML, since the IML was not implemented (at the time of the Injunction).

          I’m guessing that’s why she did not find my document useful. But to answer your question this was submitted to Janice, and well as, the translated version.

        • Jtc

          Margaret thanks for reading IML. Hope he was able to email or fax Janice a copy of that importanat denial ‘doc’.

        • Anonymous Nobody

          Mike, there are all kinds of reasons why an individual might not pressure that.

          For one, it would be VERY costly, lawyers are very expensive, and this would never end at the trial court level, it would go all the way up the ladder. For another, this has been and is being done in a very devious manner to try to get around the Constitution, as merely sending information to the other country. The US is not barring you from traveling, in fact actually lets you board the plane and go. It is the receiving country that is blocking you, and they are not subject to our Constitution.

          That is, it would cost an individual a LOT of money and with at best only murky chances of prevailing. The scheme under which this is operating is truly evil, it is from the dark side. Yes, it started a few years ago, very quietly, under the authority of the executive (Obama), not because of a legal mandate passed by Congress. IML is simply finally catching up to what Obama already slipped in and was doing.

          This group previously was California oriented; there is a national RSOL under which this state chapter operated. One would have expected the national RSOL to handle the national matters, but they did not address this. Meanwhile, CA RSOL had just so much resources and already was snowed under with a ton of issues to be fought and that only scratching the surface — how could they start taking on all the national issues too. Well, it appears CA RSOL finally came to the conclusion that it HAD to be addressed at the national level, even in order to be able to prevail at the state level. CARSOL sued over the national issue. And now it has become Consolaws, which I believe is independent of RSOL.

          What remains to be seen is whether this group really can handle all the national issues as well as the state issues — and now, not simply the state issues for California but for 50 different states. I hope the best, but I don’t see that much to be possible unless and until some day this becomes a truly monstrous size organization — and I don’t take the possibility of this becoming a monstrous size organization as a good omen.

          Just a little overview of how things have developed.

        • Mike

          I understand what you are saying. For one it is not merely the notifications, but the green notices. They are much more than just notifications. To allege that a person is likely to commit a new crime is without foundation. I would have thought that some of the people not allowed to enter, had sufficient resources, that this would have been challenged in Federal Court. You also bring up a very important matter. We need to be systematically raising more funds for both legal action and PR. I watched the video of the 9th Circuit on the AZ case and when the state attorney made a statement about the “high recidivism rate”, the judges did not even blink because it is clear that is the accepted belief.
          I do not have a lot of funds as probably most of us are in a similar situation, but I would contribute more, (now I contribute to three organizations to the tune of about $90 monthly) if it was targeted to legal and PR campaigns. We need more people to contribute, even if only $5 or $10 monthly. There is strength in numbers. We need to work together.

        • Anonymous Nobody

          On the point about the notifications that have been getting sit for the past few years, yes, the reports are that they warn you are traveling for the purpose of committing a sex offense in the receiving country — this is what the Obama administration unilaterally decided to send.

          I wrote in these forums from the first time that was mentioned that that was absolutely grounds for a libel case against the US government, those notices were issued from US soil. But even if a libel case were to prevail in court, it would take years, and afterward, the government would simply re-word the notices to not be libel but nonetheless get you denied entry.

    • Joe

      They have been sending notices to foreign governments since at least 2013. Of course, they even send them to countries where such a registry is illegal. Funny how the US Government feels it can enforce the laws of countries like India against a company like Gibson Guitars even when India has signed off on their wood exports, and turn right around and basically ignore the privacy laws of other countries. But I guess we are “Muricans, so we know better what they law should be.

  8. G4Change

    The State Department of the Unazi States of America!

  9. Canon

    Our government seems intent in making those labeled “registered sex offender” — even after a vast majority of us will never reoffend and have learned our lessons — its new public enemy. Our government is a government of wolves.

    • Anonymous Nobody

      Gee, you must be a newcomer. The government did that 20 years ago! The Bill Clinton administration is the one that made this national and put the entire issue on steroids.

      When the wall fell and we could n longer divert the public’s attention by screaming about the Soviets, they had to find something else to scream about, and while I expected it would be crime, I never expected we would be so singularly selected as the primary focus, but Clinton made that so.

      • Punished For Life

        And “Slick Willie” is one who really should be on the list. He’s lived his life keeping all of his poor choices under lock and key.

        • Anonymous Nobody

          Before he was the sex offender in chief, in Arkansas Bill Clinton had the nick name “wet Willy.”

          It was always said that Hillary was behind his choice of Janet Reno as AG and they led the move for national registration. And now we are about to elect Hillary as president (although I do not presume Trump would be any better on this issue, but then, I’ve never heard him mention it at all).

        • Punished For Life

          Anonymous Nobody:
          Trump does need to be educated in a big way. It wasn’t that long ago that he made mention that the only way to fix a SO is “castration”. When I heard that comment, I stopped supporting him in any way. Since I cannot stand Hillary or anything she stands for, I’m still searching for my 2016 “Ross Perot”. Haven’t found them yet.

        • Punished For Life

          Anonymous Nobody: Just to be more specific, I’m not sure he used the actual word “castration”, however he was referring to the SO concerns, and made a sound and a motion similar to a knife being used to slice something off?

      • Joe

        It was the creation and PROMOTION of the internet offender websites that has probably caused many of us a lot of trouble in recent years. In addition to putting the “law” in the hands of a bunch of card carrying members of the general public, the public response to that particular little “tool” has been critical in the ability of busybodies both in and out of government to pass more draconian laws and regulations.

  10. Alice

    State Department are very troubling hypocrites. Hillary Clinton was in charge of the State Department. It looks like her cronies and staff helped her hide and delete e-mails as evidenced by yesturday’s congressional hearings. Yet Hillary Rotten Clinton has no problem when her state department oppresses and violates the rights of others in being able to travel freely and not have their passport branded in what amounts to compelled/forced speech (in violating the 1st Amendment). A great majority will not reoffend, yet IML makes these outlandish assumptions about future crimes that might be committed. Seem Orwellian to you?

    Trump is not any better. But Hillary hides behind “liberal” ideals whist flip-flopping and pandering. Anyone see the documentary “Clinton Cash?”

    Her State Department is a complete fraud that can be bought with money. Bill and Hillary are much to blame for the overcrowding of prisons, as well as the unconstitutionality and stupidity of the 1994 Megan’s Law (signed by Bill “Unregistered Sex Offender” Clinton).

    • Anonymous Nobody

      Just FYI, Hillary and Bill have never suggested they were liberals. In fact, they came to power by opposing the liberals, by building and leading the moderate movement to take over the Democratic Party. In fact, Hillary was originally a Republican, she switched to the Democrats, not sure when but earlier on maybe when she hooked up with Bill.

      The definition of a moderate is “flip-flopping.” They try to straddle both sides of the fence, they try to make “yes” and “no” mean the same thing. They spend half their time trying to out-Republican, be more Republican than the Republicans. They cast aside any values or principles in favor of personal re-election, that is the priority, themselves, not the movement, not principles or humanity, those values are merely a nice side effect but not important. They go along to get along. They shift positions every time the wind shifts rather than lead on principle. They lead on the idea that you can always trick all the people all the time by shifting with the wind, by taking word games to the extreme, by going along, by always playing it safe rather than stand on principle.

      And so, Bill Clinton, hand-in-hand with his Hillary-picked AG Janet Reno, brought us registration nationwide.

  11. PK

    All I can say is that I am so glad that Janice stood-up to fight this action.

    This action will hopefully buy me a little time while I’m in the visa process in the other country, before they try to revoke my passport.

    If this escalates even further into a court action, I would absolutely feel compelled to become intimately involved in some way shape or form.

    • Anonymous Nobody

      Your passport isn’t going to be revoked. These regulations are not denying anyone a passport. That denial of a passport card is not a denial of a passport. There are two forms of passport: the newer passport card, and the longtime passport book; the passport book costs more. This regulation is merely saying you can’t have the card, my must use the book. As per Janice’s clarification above.

      But I too am glad the regulation is being challenged.

  12. David

    A huge “Thank you!” to Janice et al for attacking this in the courts. I have gone through Hell this last month – first, trying to get an answer from the Irish government as to whether I would be allowed to change airplanes at Dublin Airport, then second, trying to get an answer from the State Department about this passport crap.
    I am fed up with us Registered Citizens being everyone’s favorite whipping boy!! 😠😠😠

    • James

      Dear David:

      What did the Irish Government tell you? There should be no problem, I don’t think, changing planes…you should not even need to go through Customs/Immigration….most international airports have transit passengers walled off from internal flights.

      Of course, you probably didn’t get any answer, but I would be curious what they said, if you don’t mind.

      Best Wishes, James

      • Rob

        James and All –
        I just returned (last week) from a 3 week European tour, and YES, you must pass through “passport control” even when you just have a layover in a European city. BUT you ONLY pass through “passport control” (not customs) when FIRST ENTERING the EU from the US or anywhere outside the EU. Once you are IN THE EU, there is no passport control OR customs when flying between EU countries. I flew from NY to Berlin, with a stopover in Stockholm. We passed through “passport control” in Stockholm (yes even just to go to another gate for our flight to Berlin) but when we landed in Berlin, there was NOTHING, no passport control, no customs, NOTHING. It was like flying from LA to SF. Same on our flight from Berlin to Paris and from Paris to Stuttgart. Yes, I was surprised also, but this is the way it is.

    • Anonymous Nobody

      David, yes, do ask in advance. However, in the forum threads some time back, I read people saying that even getting a visa from a local consulate before you go will not get you in, the people at the border still reject you, a visa does not protect you, the border people get to make the decision regardless. So, whatever you are told in advance, that isn’t necessarily what is going to happen at the border. Unfortunately.

  13. David

    James,
    The Irish Consulate in San Francisco said, “There should be no problem.” But, after numerous emails, I finally made contact with Executive Officer Kevin Brady, Border Management Unit, Garda, Terminal 1, Dublin Airport. I fully explained the situation. He said, “It would probably be no problem….HOWEVER, the decision ultimately rests with whichever BMU officer you encounter at the Dublin airport. They have full discretion to refuse you entry and turn you back.”
    So I am not flying through Dublin and I have lost the entire purchase price of the Aer Lingus non-refundable airline ticket ($700+). 😠
    My recommendation to all: If you have a layover or connecting flight, carefully check the laws of the country where that layover/connection will occur. I would certainly avoid: Aer Lingus airline (all flights visit their Dublin hub) and Turkey airline (all flights appear to visit Ankara).
    Good luck, bon voyage & via con dios.

    • James

      Thanks, David, I really appreciate your complete and thorough answer. Often, these are lacking…lol. Thanks again for taking the time to type this.

      However, I am not sure how you would come in contact with a BMU Officer…unless they are waiting for you because of these damned Green Notices through Interpol…

      When I was detained in South Korea, waiting for an outbound flight to CA, there was nothing until I attempted to go through Immigration/Customs to join a Temple tour because it was an 8hr layover. Of course everybody went nuts when I gave a lovely female officer my passport and she swiped it….

      Sigh….but as I remember back, I was only put in dentition for maybe three hours (with thieves and smugglers and prostitutes)….then I was allowed back into the terminal…where I slept kind of normal airport-terminal-like until my outbound flight.

      I am sorry you had to burn the ticket….It would have been interesting to see what would have happened.

      I earlier said I would be in London this year and I would report back…but things came up, needed to buy a new car, etc, and so have missed out…but as part of the EU, I always kind of thought one could actually visit Ireland….but apparently not.

      I am sorry for your trouble.

      But thanks again for the clear and concise response.

      Best Wishes, James

      • Anonymous Nobody

        James, I would be VERY interested to hear about your experiment with London. If you manage to find a way in, we all would like to hear about it., The reports have been that Greta Britain, and the UK in general, are one of the more adamant about rejected any registrant. It appears none get in there.

        So, let us know, especially if you get in, let us know all he little details, let us try to figure out how.

    • David Kennerly

      Is there specific information about Turkey refusing entry to Registrants? If I missed it, I apologize.

      Also, I want to point out that a particular country’s policy, or lack thereof, may have little to do with actually getting in. The immigration officers on duty have tremendous latitude to exclude individuals. This is one of the reasons why U.S. notification to them is so awful. They can do with it what they will.

    • Anonymous Nobody

      David, yes, that is what I just posted above this post by you.

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  15. Chris F

    I have questions for Janice (or anyone) about the IML that I can’t find through research:

    1) With the IML, if two people in the same state were convicted of the same sex offense, and their period of registration had ended but one of those spent more than 2 days on a business trip to Florida during the registration period, and he was still registered in Florida for that trip due to the lifetime requirement and inability to get off it even though not residing there, would that person on the Florida registry get the SCARLET LETTER on their passport even though the other SO with the exact same offense wouldn’t and he never lived in Florida?

    2) If two people in two different states were convicted of the same sex offense, but one state didn’t require registration or the registration period ended, but the other person was still registered, would the registered person still get the SCARLET LETTER even though both people were convicted of the exact same crime just in different states?

    Thanks Janice and team for any help with this and all that you do!

    Chris

    • WantsToHelp

      I’m not a lawyer and don’t have any special direct line to “information” so take this for what it’s worth: The short answer to your question is… no one knows. The reason no one knows is that this is a new law that has yet to be fully implemented. Until it’s implemented, it’s impossible to know how it will be applied.

      The long answer is: Based on the way information has flowed so far, unless the state department adds new questions to their passport application (eg: are you currently required to register as a sex offender), then it will likely run registration checks through the “national” database… which is essentially a database that pulls from all the individual databases of each state. As with all data: garbage in, garbage out. So the quality of the results will have a lot to do with the quality of data being passed on from each state. In it’s present [ignorant, simplistic,] itteration, we should probably expect to see being on a registry–regardless of why or which state–to be what triggers the special mark. Whether remaining on another state’s registry even if one is no longer required to register at home can trigger the special passport treatment is probably an aspect of the law that will only be settled after many years and many lawsuits.

      The conviction itself doesn’t make any difference (assuming it relates to a sex conviction involving a minor), it’s whether that person is required to register or not.

      Additionally, while one person SHOULDN’T legally have to face the consequences of another, we’ve all heard horror stories of criminal justice mix-ups where individuals with similar names have been arrested for other people’s outstanding warrants. Even with birthdates, addresses, and other factors to help address/ eliminate these types of errors, it’d be kind of foolish to not expect similar mistakes in any human-error-riddled bureaucracy.

      But all of this is moot unless/until Janice wins her fight with the State Department petition. Without that win, both of your hypothetical people will get the scarlett letter.

      • Chris F

        Well, if the answer to either of my questions is “yes”, and people that were convicted of the exact same crime are treated completely differently by the IML, then that is a very blatant violation of “Equal Protection” even if they apply the least type of scrutiny to it. I know judges will rule against Sex Offenders if they can find any way to misinterpret or stretch the truth, but I can’t even think of how they could say the IML treats people equally, or even could be modified to do so given the differences between states handling of laws and sex offenders.

        • Screech

          That would be stretching it a bit. Equal protection generally applies to laws within a state. Not state to state comparisons because we already have laws related to the exact same offense harsher in some states compared to others. Murder is a perfect example where the ultimate penalty of death is given in some states whereas a life sentence is given in others. No one has made a valid equal protection claim before being injected with the needle in Texas. So basically tough luck for the sex offender who took a business trip to Orlando.

        • Chris F

          True, since the IML is enforced nationally and not by a particular state.

          Then wouldn’t it be a perfect case of violating Due Process?

          The federal government can’t make or enforce a law that violates the “rights and equality of all citizens”.

  16. AnonymousExpat

    Dear Janice,

    Thank you for your continued effort against this. I want to ask a question about a statement in one of your comments in this thread: “The fact is that the IML clearly states that unique identifiers can only be added to the passports of “sex offenders” convicted of most offenses involving a minor AND are currently required to register. The State Department regulation therefore cannot extend the use of unique identifiers to those who are no longer required to register. That is one of the reasons we are challenging the regulation.”

    I haven’t lived in the US for 5+ years. I have another citizenship. In fact, in general, it is practically impossible to be an American on paper for me because of a felony conviction, let alone a SO. If I were in the US, under SORNA, I would still be required to register. And under this law, State would mark my passport. However, since leaving (I fulfilled my obligation to notify and update registration when I did), I am NOT required to register as I am not residing, going to school, etc., in any jurisdiction that requires registration. Curious to know your feedback if, as things stand today, the marker requirement of the IML would apply to my passport and others like me.

    As an aside, it’s been such an attack on my identity to feel like I can’t be an American outside the country I was born in and grew up in. Especially since almost all my life now is outside the US (work, family), this law 1) is a deterrent from ever coming back home (which is an awful feeling) 2) is a deterrent for even presenting myself as an American out of fear.

    Thanks in advance.

    • WantsToHelp

      In the chance your question isn’t answered by someone with legal expertise, the layman’s answer is this: Unless/until Janice is successful in her state department challenge, the implementation as it is currently stands would require that anyone with a minor-related sex offense on his/her record to only be issued passports that bear the special mark. If you have a child-related sex offense on your record and you carry/use/are issued an American passport, then that American passport will require the mark. If, due to dual citizenship ,you do not use/ do not carry an American passport then this won’t apply to you.

      If you do use/ are issued an American passport and Janice is successful in her challenge to the state department, your passport would not require this mark so long as you are not required to register. What is still a gray area is how it will play out if you are not required to register but still show up on a state registry (such as Florida, which refuses to remove registrants even if they no longer live there). As SORNA currently stands, if you do not live in the United States, you are not in any jurisdiction that requires registration.

      Compounding the issue in your particular case: If you do have a minor-related sex offense on your record and were to visit the United States and stayed in any one place long enough to trigger registration (requirements vary state to state depending on your conviction and the specific laws of the state as they relate to those convicted in state/ out of state), then you’d be in the legal gray area of possibly having your passport revoked upon leaving the country. This is pure speculation as we’ve yet to see how the state department implements the rules.

      It’s very difficult for anyone to give specific concrete answers right now because there’s so much that’s yet to be settled.

      • AnonymousExpat

        Thanks for your response. The phrase “required to register” is not limited enough as written to be meaningful, as we’ve both noted. Required to register as per SORNA and its tier system? I mean, this is a federal law. Surely to have any standardization in application they must rely on SORNA’s registration requirements. It’s a logical conclusion. As you’ve mentioned, different states have different registration requirements for duration of registration ( Florida being lifetime). Or does required to register refer to any registration requirement, state or federal? Time will tell. I read “require to register” in plain language, as per law and case law that indicates registration is tied with jurisdiction requirement. I think, at least on this angle, it’s an interesting argument.

      • Quint

        I will have a few answers soon. Tomorrow I’m traveling from Japan back to California. I’m so curious what will happen…is my passport as of now invalidated? Will it get rejected at immigration? Revoked upon arrival in the US?

        • Phasma

          Quint, I am curious. I thought registered citizens were not allowed in Japan. How are you able to travel there?

        • Quint

          I have a single misdemeanor charge; after dozens of phone calls with about twenty pounds of paperwork Japan let me in.

        • PK

          Hi Quint, I was wondering if you could provide an overview in terms of the paperwork and phone calls that you made in order to enter into Japan.

          Did you speak with someone at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate located in the United States prior to your travel there?

          Surely you didn’t do all of this upon your arrival.

          Perhaps this could help someone who has a similar Misdemeanor Conviction and has the need to enter into Japan.

        • Political Prisoner

          Yes I would like to know how to start the ball rolling

        • James

          Dear Quint:

          I think you will just have to go to secondary…I doubt they well seize or mark your passport but please let us know how it goes.

          As an aside, you had no difficulty entering Japan, be it last month or two years ago? I thought Japan was a difficult country for entry, but it would be nice if I was wrong and Japan was accessible to RSO’s.

          In any case, good luck.

          Best Wishes, James

        • Quint

          @James:
          It IS a difficult country to enter. There is no law barring RSOs, but any jail/sentence of a year or more would prevent entry. If they new about it…

        • PK

          Hi Quint, your answer still seems a little vague to me.

          I was wondering if you could provide an overview in terms of the paperwork and phone calls that you made in order to enter into Japan.

          Did you speak with someone at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate located in the United States prior to your travel there?

          Surely you didn’t do all of this upon your arrival.

          Perhaps this could help someone who has a similar Misdemeanor Conviction and has the need to enter into Japan.

        • Rob

          Quint and All –
          As I have already posted, I returned 2 weeks ago from a 3 week European vacation, landed at JFK in New York. Got the “x” on my kiosk issued form, went to the “office” was asked only 1 question, the last 4 of my SS number. My form was stamped and I proceeded to baggage claim. On the way through the last CPB checkpoint, the young agent said to his supervisor, “hey, they wrote something on this guys form, I don’t know what it means, do you want to talk to him”. The supervisor, looked at me, dressed in a suit, and said, “nah, have a nice night sir.” 40 minutes from landing to car rental. Look the part, and hopefully it will be a breeze for you also. Yes, I worried the whole flight, for nothing, and I did not notify ANYONE when I left the US. I live in CA, a NON-SORNA state. No one gave my passport a second glance at JFK.

        • nomore

          After you’ve traveled another 20 times, let us know how it works for you. You probably got lucky but who knows, they may have been impressed with your attire.

        • PK

          I’m more interested in his “entering” a country in Europe, rather than “returning” back to the US. We all know it sucks coming back. For example, which country did Rob get into successfully?

        • James

          Dear Rob and Quint:

          Thanks for the information….I suspected that continental Europe would be good….and apparently Sweden also as it is part of the Schengen Area.

          I am still a little iffy on Japan, but the truth probably is that Quint is not privy to the internal workings of Japan’s policy on this…he got in and that was really all that mattered to him….and properly so.

          All information is good…so thanks again.

          Best Wishes, James

        • Rob

          Hey PK –
          I have a unique, very lucky circumstance, in that I hold both US and German passports, so entering the EU is a non-issue, but I have heard from others that entering MOST EU countries is, at the moment, not an issue and ONCE IN THE EU/Shengen region, there are no more passport control/customs issues. I flew into Stockholm, DID pass through passport control, yes with my EU passport, obviously no issue, then from there flew to Berlin (no passport control, no customs), from there to Paris, again no passport control, no customs, from there to Stuttgart, again no passport control, no customs. I flew home from Munich, with a layover in Oslo – THERE was passport control in Oslo, Norway is NOT an EU country, but as I used my German passport, again no issue. I ONLY used my US passport to register on my RETURN flight from Munich (as required by US law) and ENTER the US. When they scanned my US passport in Munich (remember, I was leaving), there was no issue, second looks, or questions, so I am not sure if anything comes up when the US passport is SCANNED by the airline as I could not see the screen. And for those who may ask, yes I LEFT Germany on my US passport (airline screening, not CPB), but ENTERED Norway on my German passport (CBP screening, NOT airline). Leaving Norway after our layover, did not require another scan as my boarding pass was issued in Munich.

        • Quint

          Hey Rob–same thing. The immigration officer sent me to secondary inspection and put an odd mark on my customs paper. Secondary inspection asked me where I was staying, xrayed my bag, and that was that.

  17. Kris Klein

    AGAIN more deafening silence about the continent of Africa

    Don’t registrants ever travel there? I hear a lot about Asia, Europe, and even South America
    Nothing about Africa which according to the RTAG Matrix, no country there has denied entry to registered sex offenders.

    I’m also waiting for Paul to chime in on this fact since he’s collecting all the data

    • Reply to Kris Klein

      You need to look at country by country on the continent of Africa, but I have read Kenya does have a restriction on RC’s going there, which can be found online when seeking the entry requirements.

  18. Midwestern Boy

    Hi WantsToHelp,

    I have two passports one with the military that allows me entry in to countries with restrictions for civilians, than, I have my civilian passport. My military one expires in a month and I am currently out of the military so no more renewed that one.. The issue, I have is, I am on the registry in Texas, but in the last 10 years, I have not had to register. This seems like a very odd area to be in. I am changing my name in about a week. In the state I currently live in. I can change my name if I have not been convicted. Mine was s. assault I was 18 now 45. I had 10 years deferred adjudication probation once completed no conviction seems like a very gray area to be in. Last place I went to was Canada yes in 2012 with the air force and not a single issue. I went to Scotland than Germany and to afghan on the way back I went to Romania, than to Ireland back to St. Johns Canada and the U.S. That was 2012-2013. I been on few cruises and 2014 Mexico and Jamaica on Cruises no issues at all… I still show up in Texas…….

    • WantsToHelp

      Just to reitterate… I’m not a lawyer, but I am somewhat familiar with the registration laws in Texas and it’s my understanding that under Texas law, if you don’t live in Texas you’re eligible for removal. As far as I know, Texas even removes their own registrants if those registrants are planning to be out of state for any extended period of time. I recommend contacting DPS and speaking to someone in the registration department to get yourself removed. It might be a frustrating experience with multiple calls and follow up and you might have to fax/email documents to prove to their satisfaction that you no longer live in state. Worst case you might have to hire a lawyer to make it happen, but if you don’t live in Texas, you’re eligible for removal from their list. If you run into any issues and need a lawyer, Texas Voices (google to find them) should be able to refer you to someone that specializes in registrant issues. Good luck!

      • Chris F

        I agree. I live in Texas and they are not like Florida. If you leave, they take you off. Normally, it is done when the state you move to has you register, and Texas takes you off. If you didn’t have to register in the new state, and didn’t alert the local Texas police department that handled your registration that you moved, then they just keep you on there and think you are simply out of compliance and sneaking around Texas somewhere.

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