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ACSOLGeneral News

State Dept. restricts passports for sex offenders

The State Department is threatening to take away the passports of certain sex offenders.

Federal law requires registered sex offenders to display a unique mark on their passports to notify officials in foreign governments when they travel abroad. Passports that do not contain the mark could be confiscated, the State Department said Thursday. Full Article

Related

https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-21087.pdf

Janice Bellucci comment: According to the article, the IML case was dismissed which is not true.  The article links to an article from April 2016 which correctly reported that our Motion for a Preliminary Injunction was denied, but not that the case was dismissed. 

Join the discussion

  1. Rob

    I just returned from a European trip – I was there for nearly 3 weeks. Yes, I have dual citizenship, so my leaving US/entering Europe was on my EU passport, but when I returned I used my US passport. I live in CA, NOT SORNA, I notified NO ONE of my plans, had NO ISSUES upon leaving or travel in Europe, visiting 9 countries. For those with US passports, once you DO ENTER the EU, there are NO MORE passport or customs checks when travelling BETWEEN EU countries ( I did not visit the UK at all). When returning to US, I flew into NY/JFK airport. Of course, got the X on my entry voucher from the kiosk. But the CBP guy I first got to was very nice, took me to the “office” where I was quickly asked only 1 question, the last 4 of my SS number. I was stamped and sent on to baggage claim. When I passed through the final check, the young guy said to his supervisor, “hey, they wrote something at primary, do you want to talk to this guy?” The supervisor looked at me, dressed in suit and tie, and said, nah, have a nice night sir. I was out of customs in about 30 minutes TOTAL. The lesson for all is LOOK PROFESSIONAL, don’t look like a low life and you will have no problems at re-entry USUALLY. I will answer any questions anyone has, but my passport was not even given a second look and it had NO ENTRY STAMPS, since I only used it to ENTER the US. We all need to stop anticipating the worst, when the best usually happens. Great trip BTW and I will be at the LA meeting in Oct to answer any questions anyone has.

    • Jim

      That’s essentially been my experience for the last 10 years. They give you the “oh you’re in deep shit pretend posturing”. I live in Europe and visit family around the holidays. As much as I like seeing family, US customs is the most stressful thing. I literally have nightmares about it.

      • David Kennerly

        Yes, U.S. Customs was certainly (when I was still traveling) the worst aspect of any int’l trip.

        The worst agent I encountered looked through all of my SD memory cards, photo-after-photo and kept me waiting for over an hour. He found nothing.

        Even so, he threatened to send a “unit” to my house to have it searched. Then he asked me “How do you control your urges”?

        So yeah, I can relate.

        • MS

          Sounds like the agent was a real *@^%*!!. Ignorant as well because a unit couldn’t just roll up to your house and search it. Would need a search warrant and in theory those aren’t handed out like candy by judges. Needs to be probable cause and SD cards full of legal phones wouldn’t do it for them. I would have been tempted to ask to speak to his/her supervisor.

        • Tuna

          The final comment by the agent is the most annoying and disgusting to me.

    • Eric Knight

      That non-US Passport is worth it’s weight in gold many times over.

  2. Rob

    Janice –

    As an addition to your regular arguments about the “mark” on passports, on my recent trip to Europe, you are required to show your passport not only when you first enter the EU, but at EVERY hotel, when renting a car, even when entering some ‘sensitive’ tourist attractions (the Reichstag in Berlin for example). This can only help your argument that the “mark” would have other implications besides at customs/border crossings.

  3. Quint

    Janice–

    If it helps our case: I have relocated abroad. The Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Immigration Bureau are all aware of my status; I provided full documentation and was allowed to emigrate after a lengthy ordeal to be with my family. Not only do you need a passport to check into hotels or to gain access to certain tourist locations, (the ones that need reservations), but also as a foreigner to be able get a driver’s license, apply for jobs, open a bank account, move to a different city, (everyone here has to update moves with their city hall) and even get a library card need a passport. It’s the law here that you have to carry a passport at all times.

  4. ChrisC

    I guess I’m a little miffed as well about all of this. PK had mentioned this as well.

    Janice said something to the effect of getting new plaintiffs to challenge IML, but before she said that, she mentioned challenging this rule by the state department.

    I thought the challenge to IML was already set no? Are there multiple challenges to IML?

    Secondly, what about the challenge to the state department rule?

    So right around the time when Janice was asking for donations, and collecting money from people, there were no less than 3 phone conferences with the people from National RSOL. These phone conferences generally lasted about 1 hour.

    Did this fall by the wayside or something? I haven’t seen any news or information about a phone conference for months.

    It looks like this whole IML and passport issue could affect a lot of people, and perhaps some little clarification from Janice, or perhaps another phone conference would help people understand what is going on with this.

    Are the phone conferences contingent upon receiving more donations or something? I would be happy to do that if that is what is needed.

    Thank you.

    • Lake County

      The IML suit is still moving forward. The court moves slowly, so there will be long periods of time with no information. Due to the new rules they have reportedly created that were not enacted by law, Janice has to prepare a new fight on these issues or perhaps amend the original suit. Therefore, as she stated, she needs new good plaintiffs. Please remember that Janice is an attorney who is actively engaging in lawsuits against Cities, Counties, State of CA and the Federal Government. Therefore we can’t expect her to disclose everything, especially details on all of her planned or current lawsuits. Remember, this is an open website that is available for ALL to read including the various government agencies she is fighting against. No good attorney would disclose their plans to the opposition.

      The IML phone conferences were with the people from National RSOL and Janice was not a participant of at least 2 of those conference calls. Janice is no longer the California representative of the National RSOL and would only be involved in new conference calls if she was invited and agreed to participate. Janice is now President/Director (?) of this new National group “Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws”. Unlike CA RSOL, ACSOL is not a state affiliate of National RSOL but is instead an equal partner. In its new role, ACSOL will continue to work with National RSOL in support of mutual goals and events such as National RSOL’s annual conference. Making the move from a CA only organization to a National organization is certainly to our benefit.

      Janice has not stated to us if she will conduct her own conference calls, but with all the things on her plate right now, we should allow her more time to determine if she will be doing this. It’s a lot of work starting a new non-profit org, creating a new website to everyone’s satisfaction, holding monthly meetings, support groups and most of all, doing research and filing lawsuits. I doubt conference calls has anything to do with donations received, it’s most likely about limited time available. And these conference calls do nothing towards the important work of advocacy to the general public or the courts.

      And between all the things she has and is doing for us, she still need time to have a good life for herself and her family. Which I hope includes vacations, SHE DESERVES IT!

      • GRR

        You say ACSOL is an equal partner but in actuality they are now a competitor of RSOL. I for one believe ACSOL will achieve a lot more then RSOL has done in the past but now all donations are being divided by the two companies and all the board members on both boards.

        What a shame,

        • Lake County

          GRR….”now all donations are being divided by the two companies and all the board members on both boards.” Where do you get such information? “Board members” are volunteers, they do not get paid. Donations are used for travel expenses, office space and supplies, court filing fees and any other direct cost in advocacy. You seem to be under the impression that there are significant sums of money being donated. All non-profits have their financial information available online, just Google the information. I think you will be shocked at how small the donations received actually are.

    • Lake County

      ChrisC, Are you signed up with the National RSOL to receive email notifications? They still have a phone conference every month. I think the next one is this Tuesday and will be discussing the recent Sixth Circuit victory in the case of Does v Snyder.

      http://nationalrsol.wildapricot.org/event-2329607?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=9/7/2016

      • PK

        So I’m a little irritated with National RSOL for not mentioning anything whatsoever about this Passport Rule nor the new challenge against it. Why are they choosing to ignore this extremely important issue?

    • Janice Bellucci

      There is much activity behind the scenes regarding the IML and the State Dept. regulation published on September 2. Some, but not all, of that activity was recently revealed on this website under various articles about that regulation. More will be revealed in a few days after action is taken. It is a good idea for ACSOL to conduct its own telephone conferences on this and other matters. Please stay tuned about when and how we can make that happen.

      • Lake County

        Thank you for the clarification and I look forward to ACSOL’s first conference call.

      • DavidH

        Janice:

        I did see you mention looking for plaintiffs in the Los Angeles county area. I did not grasp what that’s for nor did i see a profile you seek. Could you elaborate please?

      • PK

        I would really like to become more involved in terms of challenging this.

        I thought that only Laws could be challenged. How can a State Department Rule or Procedure be challenged?

        I’m wondering if I should leave sooner than planned, because all of this.

      • Notgivingup

        Thank you Janice. I have decided to just donate to ACSOL and my state group, this will keep it simple for me, thank you again for all you do.

        • Janice Bellucci

          Thank you, Notgiving up! You showed up, stood up and spoke up!

  5. Quint

    Just got off the phone with The American council passport division. She said the rules are indeed as of ‘now’. According to the supervisor, when you apply for a passport, the passport agency sends the info to the state department. If there is a ‘hit’, they will either put a code, restrict the passport to a certain number of years, or completely deny it, depending. “There are some people we don’t want traveling abroad at all.” She couldn’t give me any firm details or even a hypothetical ‘what if.’

    • PK

      What the heck is: The American council passport division ?

      • Quint

        American counsel=kinda like an embassy, but area based. There is only one embassy per country.
        Passport division=the folks who renew/distribute passports.

        • PK

          Oh I thought that the State Department issued Passports.

          Maybe you’re talking about Chinese Passports.

          Anyways it appears that depending upon who you talk to you, you will get different answers concerning the “Passport Mark”.

        • David

          PK and Quint: To be precise, passports are issued by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Passports and International Travel. Here’s a link:
          https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/contact-us.html

        • Quint

          Thanks David. I couldn’t get through to anyone in the state department, so I called the local consul (I have to go there anyway next month for my passport renewal) to see how this new law affects us registrants that live/stay abroad..

    • David Kennerly

      There is nothing in IML that authorizes State (or any branch of gov’t) to limit the number of years the passport was valid short of the standard ten years nor authorizes them to deny altogether an application for a passport. That was in previous iterations but not in the final law.

      • Quint

        @David: Yeah, I read the Sept. 1st bulletin and agree with you, but nonetheless this stuff makes me nervous.

  6. Tuna

    What is the status of the petition that was filed in response to the flawed State Dept rule published in the Federal Register on Sept 2. Also, Janice had mentioned that she would soon be having a discussion with an AUSA regarding this petition. Any updates on this appreciated. Thanks!

  7. alex v

    i just had my passport renewed. Does that mean they put that chip in it already. was convicted of a cp posetion 10 years ago

    • David Kennerly

      The RFID chip has been standard in all passports for more than ten years now, if that is what you are referring to. The chip is not unique to “sex offenders” but is in all passports.

      It can be interrogated wirelessly by a reader in lieu of scanning the machine-readable code running along the inside of the passport.

      The only thing which will be unique to the passports of sex offenders is some kind of signifier (not yet revealed) which will be printed on an endorsements page. It has not yet been implemented so your passport should not have that.

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