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Research

Volunteers needed for a study on the impacts of International Megan’s Law by April 30!

[Grace Lee – University of Utrecht, Netherlands – www.uu.nl]

Has the International Megan’s Law impacted your life?

Then please take part in this study.

Why:

  • The academic and policy literature on International Megan’s Law (IML) is missing the voices of those whose mobility is impacted.
  • This study will add a qualitative analysis of lived experiences to the debate about disproportionate systems of punishment and their unintended consequences on citizens’ rights and livelihoods.

Who:

Seeking accounts of challenges with post-IML international travel from:

  • Registered citizens
  • Families of registered citizens
  • Lawyers and social workers who have worked with the two groups above

Details:

  • You will take part in a 30-60 minute online interview.
  • You will be asked about you/your family/your client’s experiences with travelling after the introduction of IML.
  • Your answers will be confidential and fully anonymized.
  • The online interview can be conducted with video on or off.

How to participate:

Send an email to g.lee1@students.uu.nl indicating your interest and participation preferences by April 30, 2021.

 

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i refuse to travel internationally because I couldn’t bear the pain and embarrassment my children and wife will suffer if I am turned around once we land. IML,It’s punishment no matter how they present it.

Travel separately because “Daddy has to work but will try to make it.” If you get turned around, “Daddy had to work.” If you make it, they’ll be thrilled when they see you.

Yah, lie to your family because of Megan’s law?
How about telling them the truth, how iml has been used to take away the constitution of the United States from its own citizens

My kids are 9 and 13. I’m not quite ready to saddle them with the complexities of how my past and constitutional issues will bring them ostracization from school, ballet, karate, piano and all the other things I work hard for to give them as normal and healthy an upbringing as possible.
I hate lying to them and they’ll find out eventually when the impact won’t have as such severe psychological ramifications. For now, the benefit outweighs the cost. This is how my wife and I choose to raise our kids, but you do you.

My 3 children are just into their teens, so I gotta come up with a different lie.
Also, I forgot to mention, if hundreds and hundreds of dollars are a loss because I get turned around, my wife will kill me. IML is punishment no matter how they present it.

@ Anonymous: I have a IML Passport including the “unique identifier” (which, as a side note, is not at all unique and says exactly the same thing in every one of our passports!). Pre-pandemic, I traveled to Europe every year and never had any problem with the passport. The border control officers at the airport never even looked at the special notice. They just glanced at the passport, glanced at me to make certain I was the same individual as the passport photo, and then asked me the standard questions, “Are you here for business or pleasure” “How long do you plan to stay?” ” Have a good vacation.”
In fact, no one has ever bothered to leaf to the back pages of my passport to look at the unique identifier/notice.
I certainly encourage you and your family members to travel to Europe as soon as it’s covid-safe to do so. You should have absolutely no problem entering any of the Schengen Agreement countries which includes nearly every country in Europe. In fact, if anyone on this site has been turned back from a European country in recent years, please post and let us all know. I do not believe it has happened to anyone. Also, when I am in Europe, I feel much safer and freer than I do here at home in the United States despite my being a natural born US citizen.

(I will note that my airplane was once greeted by a contingent of French police awaiting my arrival. But that was not a result of the IML passport. That incident was the result of the US Marshal’s Service mistakenly sending notification that I was a “fugitive”. Honestly, it was great fun! The French police were very polite and, after answering their questions, they ushered me through border control/passport check to baggage claim before most the others on my flight even got through the long lines! I was free to go and on the Paris city streets in no time! 🤗❤️🇨🇵!)

We’re not planning on vacationing in Europe. It was going to be Jamaica or Aruba or Dominican Republic but I can’t chance it. Forget international, Maybe we’ll just vacation in the Florida Keys.

One huge problem with vacationing in Florida, you have to register with Sheriffs office if you are there more than 3 days

Youll be on FL for LIFE IF you & your Family travel to FL Keys. Im Glbtq and cant go tobtge world famous The Keys down there. Not even vacay to Orlando for bar killing site nor Chikdhood dream DisWorld [arrested@19].
Sorry thimbs down due to morr danger for YOU (& Your fam). I can’t even go toThailand my.mother in law farm homeland.My Spouse wont even go without mw. S A D !

Ok, this is great news. I hope and pray this is legitimately being looked into. I would encourage the scores of people that have been suddenly separated from family in a foreign country, denied access to complete international business, loss of airfare and travel expense, the humiliation, the stress, and outright fear of being separated form your loved one’s in a foreign country and having your phone taken from you. This is nothing short of totalitarian persecution.

Can you u do it if you have traveled yet? It has caused a lot of fear and distress for us already. It’s almost like we are gambling. Buy a $1000 ticket.. you may or may not be turned away..

@ Anklebiter: I did lose an $800 R/T ticket once. ☹️ I purchased a ticket on Ireland’s Aer Lingus airline before I realized that the flight would have a stopover at Dublin Airport where there was a good chance I would be turned back. Couldn’t return the ticket or get credit for it. 🙄 Had to make alternate flight plans.

Thanks for posting this notice. I have just sent him/her/them an email to volunteer. 👍

I will participate in this study. It should produce good data for Governments to work with…I hope.

Best Wishes, James I

I expect it will produce good data. But of course we know that U.S. governments are not interested in good data, facts, or reality. Maybe other governments can use it.

Interesting this is from a university in the Netherlands. The American ways are being researched overseas. Like to see the final report when done with a copy sent to Rep Smith, D-NJ if in the traveler’s favor and not his.

It will be in our favor, one can be reasonably sure.

@NDIK

I believe it will be also, but just don’t like to assume such at the outset of a study when it needs to not be biased to be a proper study (something the USG could learn)

This study seems to presume the following: When assessing the direct effects of the IML, the only criterium considered to be valid is the actual experience of those registered citizens who have actually traveled internationally, to the exclusion of all others.

If this IS the premise, it is flawed, in my opinion. When studying direct effects of the IML on registered citizens, the study should expand the criteria to include those who have chosen NOT TO TRAVEL as a result of the potential collateral consequences created by the IML (e.g., social and personal shame, public humiliation, effects on family members, potential economic loss, etc.) I suspect that there are a significant number of registered citizens who fall into this category.

Think of a study that considers the new voting laws recently passed in the state of Georgia. “Let’s interview just those who actually voted in the election to assess these new laws. Let’s exclude all those who did not vote, or could not vote, due to the restrictions imposed by these laws.” See?

The results of a ‘limited’ study such as this, as referenced above, carry the potential, either intentionally or otherwise, to be used as a weapon against those seeking to overturn the law. As an example: “Our study conclusively indicates that only a small percentage of registered offenders traveling internationally report a negative experience as a result of the conditions set forth by the IML….blah blah blah”

I now envision a young government lawyer hauling such a study out in front of the likes of Alito, Roberts, Sotomayor, Thomas, et al., proclaiming authoritatively: “See? Even the experts who have studied this issue have proven that the IML causes no harm”. Shades of McKune v Lile (“frightening and high risk of recidivism”), and Smith v Doe (s.o. registry is designed to protect public safety and is not a punishment.)

cc. g.lee1@students.uu.nl

Exactly SG. I’m a scientist and I avoid all international travel due to IML. I’ve had to have colleagues present for me at international conferences in countries I know I’d be barred from entry (Canada, the UK) and I shy away from traveling to countries I believe I can enter (those in continental Europe) just because I don’t want to take chances. This has affected my professional life, and it could be argued has affected, in a very modest way, the scientific community. But I don’t have any “horror stories” to tell because I’ve preempted them via discretion.

You should still reach out and participate!

That’s me, too. I’ve had to take an earlier (and more impoverished) retirement than I had once hoped simply because I can no longer travel to Asia or the U.K. where once I had lots of business. As for those few European countries where I would be allowed to travel (for the moment) I’m completely intolerant of the systematic harassment I encounter whenever I return through U.S. Immigration to say nothing of the groveling I would be forced to demonstrate through travel notification. I consider that we HAVE been prohibited from leaving the U.S. altogether.

To be sure the underlying intent behind Megan’s Law was to impose affirmative restraint by machine database notice. And while IML was intended in to prevent child sex tourism, it nevertheless is triggered by legal movement first.
Therefore, IML also reflects that unmentioned intent and indeed effects outcome of liberty opportunity in travel. This is probative as in effect similar to the intent behind incarceration.

Personally I’m like others and fed up being sold out to foreign national interests.

Hi SG, I’ve replied in a private email to you, but just wanted to clear things up in case there was confusion for anyone reading this.

My intention with seeking “accounts of challenges with post-IML international travel” is certainly not to exclude the experiences of anyone who has ceased travel as a result of the law.

If this is your experience and you’d like to participate in the study, please feel free to reach out to me. Thanks!

Grace,

Thanks for the quick response. It is appreciated.

My point is that it seems that only one side of the coin is being examined. I fear that the results will leave an incomplete picture as to the challenges presented by the IML. I am sure your intentions are not to exclude experiences of those who have not traveled, but how does the study compensate for the exclusion?

Why are you assuming this? I didn’t read anything that would lead me to assume that.

From what little I read above I would expect that the study would completely account for tons of responses from people who say something like, “I used to travel internationally a lot and now I don’t at all.”

Well…Will……Grace responded to me and agreed that she is in fact excluding from her study those who have chosen not to travel due to the potential consequences of the IML restrictions. So…that makes it no longer an assumption. Wouldn’t you agree? And on the other hand…seems that it is you who is assuming that there will be “tons of responses from people…” etc. True?

I think you have Grace’s reply backwards, SG. From her post to you:
—–
My intention with seeking “accounts of challenges with post-IML international travel” is certainly not to exclude the experiences of anyone who has ceased travel as a result of the law.
—–
She is NOT excluding those who have given up on traveling. She then even wrote that if giving up on travel is your experience, you’re still encouraged to participate. So @Will Allen is correct, assumptions aside.

AJ…thanks for the reply. I should have been more clear regarding Grace’s response to my posting, and that is entirely my fault. I feel we are beating this poor horse to death….but…I think it is important to clarify…

To a degree you are correct. While Grace is not intending to specifically exclude input from those people who have chosen not to travel due to ‘IML concerns’ (and to my point) she did not make those who fall into this category aware that their input would be wanted, needed, valuable, relevant, included, or necessary. Most importantly, she did not state that she is seeking or interested in any such input.

I am convinced beyond all doubt that omissions of input from the population of s.o.’s who have chosen not to travel due to ‘IML concerns’ would skewer the conclusions of any study regarding the direct effects of the IML, irrespective of intentions.

Grace indicates that her study seeks to consider the experiences of those who have ALREADY traveled internationally. (In fact, the study states that the substantive and relevant question to be asked of participants is the following: “You will be asked about you/your family/your client’s experiences with traveling after the introduction of IML.”)

Grace confirms all this in her personal email to me. In that email, Grace wrote the following: “The premise of my study is certainly not to exclude the experiences of registered citizens who have chosen not to travel as a result of IML. However, I felt that “challenges with post-IML international travel” (as my posting reads) encapsulates that experience.”

It is this last sentence that causes me great concern regarding the sufficiency of the study. Grace is of the belief that “challenges with post-IML international travel encapsulates that experience”. I disagree.

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

cc. g.lee1@students.uu.nl

Grace said what I thought.

And really, think about it. A lot of people are really dumb, but we shouldn’t assume that everyone is. It would be really crazy for a researcher to look at IML impacts and not consider that it could cause people to not travel at all. Such a researcher would have to be quite dumb. But most researchers aren’t and they care about facts and detail, unlike Registry Supporters/Terrorists and the general public.

Will,

That is a terrific point. I agree that a researcher studying the effects of the IML would have made a grave error (your characterizations: “really crazy” and “quite dumb”) if they failed to “consider that it would cause people not to travel at all”.

If such a study failed to identify this cohort and failed to specifically and actively seek out input from this cohort, the conclusion reached by the researcher would likely be considered as ‘invalid’. Agreed?

Even worse, in the hands of those who seek to promote and continue the implementation of the IML, such a study could be used as an arrow in their quiver. This would make our burden even heavier, more costly, and of a longer duration. True?

Case in point: The Butner Study No. 1, and “Butner Study Redux”, regarding undisclosed ‘hands-on contact’ by those charged only with possession/receipt of CP.

I refer you to this site for a more thorough discussion of these flawed studies:
http://medcraveonline.com/FRCIJ/FRCIJ-06-00213.pdf

It took quite an effort to overcome the effect of the use of the Butner studies in a number of court cases. And while after a number of years a federal district court judge published an opinion that the Butner studies were not reliable and should not be considered when determining appropriate sentences for those charged in CP cases, there are still occasions when a prosecutor will attempt to bludgeon a CP defendant by whipping out those two studies.

With respect to fighting the IML, I would like to avoid a repeat of the Butner Studies at all costs.

It’s just an ounce of prevention.

Best personal regards. SG.

Agree with all that. And certainly bad studies have been done and are a problem. It is good to be vigilant about helping them to be better. I was just questioning why you seemed (to me) to be so vehemently assuming that this study intended to skip “non travelers due to IML”.

I see it happen a lot on this site, and I am guilty of it occasionally, where people immediately assume the worst about something. Even with people/activities that are probably intended to be reasonable and thus aid PFRs. I think that is because the Hit Lists cause PFRs to expect to be attacked, facts to be ignored, be treated unfairly, etc. That is the status quo.

I’d just like to see us all, myself included, have a less knee-jerk reaction when someone/something is introduced. I usually have an immediate negative reaction. I have to stop and see if I can give a person the benefit of the doubt, until/unless I can confirm my suspicions.

My God, Will. It actually seems that we are now in agreement. Amazing.

Count me in, I was effected by the IML

I was held at the airport in a cell for 24 hours in Roatan Honduras last year. A beautiful tropical island known for great diving. I was separated from my girlfriend. We ended up on the same flight home. I lost a significant amount of money and the girlfriend was gone a few weeks later. I would love to travel to other Caribbean islands and Europe but have not done so out of an abundance of caution. All of this was from a simple CP charge a decade ago with no prison. 3 days in jail and a fine

3 days in jail and a fine. Wow, so you, the “monster” who can’t travel or do anything really” was confined to jail for such a short amount of time. So, those who let you out after 3 days really “endangered” everyone around, and they should be the ones in jail for endangering the public. Of course, I am being sarcastic. If you were the “monster” they claim you are, you should have been sent to prison for life. What a bunch of hypocrites, but we already know this.You can tell these ignorant people just about anything that is on the Internet or on TV, and they believe it. BTW, aliens just invaded our planet, and they are planning on taking every donut with them to their planet. I am sure if the Internet posts this, people will believe that, too. Scary!

On April of 2016 I was traveling to Mexico to meet up with my coworker friend who was already there visiting his family. He invited me to come down to meet his family and visit the city of Queretaro and I was interested, so I bought my airline tickets and we were set to meet up in Guadalajara. When I got there, I was met up with a nice Immigration Officer when I just got in the line at immigrations, and had to followed him into his office for interrogation and he told me that I couldn’t be let in because our Government had sent a notice about me which prompted my denial of entry into Mexico. On June 2016, I was traveling to Lima, Peru to attend a tour with a legit dating agency called A Foreign Affairs or AFA, and the same thing happened again with the denial of entry. I was puzzled by the experience I had and wondered why it happened and after talking with Janice, that’s when I learned about the IML and the moron Chris Smith that caused all this to happened.

prior to 2015 I’ve traveled to Jamaica with not a single problem, also traveled to Canada, I heard the beep after passport was scanned, went to secondary for about 20 minutes & on my way, also traveled to Mexico many many times, even though Mexico was not supposed to allow, but was mainly sent to secondary upon return for about 15 minutes & on my way & not once did I receive any type of notification stating I’m not permitted or banned, but in 2016 I wanted to travel to Asia, I heard some where able to pass & some weren’t, I even called the embassy & he mentioned there’s no problem *wrong* I purchased ticket & upon arrival in Hanoi I wasn’t let in, long story short I was banned from entering as long as I’m registered, so my b-day is July 31st & able to petition 24 years on registry, so I would be able to get off, so I will wait for removal from the courts, double check with local police, apply for passport & see results

I hope all sides of IML are included in the study. Registrants, spouses, children and loved ones, friends, and business networks overseas need to involved showing the impact of this law.

Never heard of any registrant going overseas to commit sex crimes, including trafficking. However facts don’t matter to the good ole United States of Opinions!!

IML
A law presumably to protect foreign nationals by notice on their own soil from visiting American citizens who may engage in criminal activities involving their children. We have big problems in our own country! Maybe we aught to work on that instead of spending time and money doing IML.
OBVIOUSLY somebody figured out how to make a buck.

A solid clue to what IML regime is really about can be had by examining the structure of the program, it’s financing and the location of its headquarters.

Right now there are thousands and thousands of minors being detained at the border as they flood across thanks to the non-existent policy on immigration by our government. Can you imagine how many children never make it here? how many disappear without a trace? Our govenrment has created a haven for traffickers at the border. The US governments political agenda is making colateral damge of these naive parents and their children with their desperate attempts at getting into the land of opportunity. Yet, the feds can focus on scrutinizing on a person who has a CP offense from a decade ago. SMH

Eric,
Our foreign policy is rule by FIAT these days. Obviously we’ve have fiat rule in all kinds of law, enforcement depends on which party is in power and holds ultimate control the administrative branch.

SEX offender registration submits registrants to fiat determined by which ever individual you run into.
Marijuana is as of today still listed schedule 1 by the feds right?

The more fiat rule exists the more schizophrenic the people become as they MUST inevitably follow their leadership – even poor leadership.

Traveling overseas is a waste of time and money if you have a girlfriend and you guys go on vacation and u get separated and you get sent back to US most likely that relationship is over.
To protect my wife and children from Megan’s law I had to divorced my wife after 7 years
and moved out to a lilittle apartment in downtown riverside my wife at the time didn’t understand why I was leaving she thought I blamed her for being labeled a sex offenders from what happened to us in high school but that wasn’t it
Then she thought I was cheating on her with another woman but that wasn’t it ether I had to explain to her over and over that our kids are get older and becoming lilittle adults and I can’t let my past effect their chances at having a normal life .
I have 3 kids and nether of them has ever had friends come over or play dates or do typical children stuff because I was labeled a sex offender
I even noticed that my outlook on Society because of IML was starting to rub off on them I noticed them becoming anti social and shy so I left.
I’m still in my children’s lives thank GOD we only live 15 minutes away form each other my ex wife/victim and I get along great my kids know about me and their mom’s situation in high school and how I ended up on the hit list .
It’s sad all the shit people go through because of IML hopefully next year when I turn 39 I’m able to go free because 21 years of this bullshiit takes a toll on you.

Good luck 😬👌

@Aero

This really resonates with me as well, my ex/victim has been trying to rekindle things but sometime in the last decade I lost the appetite to try. Everyone has an opinion about us and had told her she is suffering from Munchausen, and we both hate it.

I’m not on the registry since 2016, but new proposed fed rules could put me back on. As soon as our son graduates, I’m immigrating overseas. Shell be devastated, but better off. All this over something that happened 17 years ago.

Supporters of any registry end up biting themselves. They want people to get on with their lives for the sake of not rocking the boat and at the same time they make it hard to do so. People would get back to their lives if there weren’t such a legal mess to go through. They made a ridiculous and wasteful system that does N O T H I N G.

“And for that reason I’m out”

I keep reading on how people can’t enter this country or that country but nothing about their family. So I will say something. You are all worried about not getting into other countries? How about not hearing from your family for 5 years like what I am going through. Because of IML and the AWA, I have not heard from my Philippine wife or my two girls in 5 YEARS. I don’t even know where they are or what happened. My last phone conversation was 5 years ago when I was told to take care of myself by my wife. Then all phone numbers changed and e mail addresses. I was released from the New York State registry in March of 2016. But I still can’t get into the Philippines due to an extended Visa I did in 2013. Philippine immigration law is you have to wait 10 years before you can petition the immigration bureau to have your name removed from the blacklist for moral turpitude. I thank the good ol US embassy for telling the Philippines of my registry. So you want to know how IML and AWA affected me? All it did was inject me with insane HATE

Sounds like she moved on and most likely found another man can’t really blame her tho life goes on.

What is the point of this study? This web site right here is full of anonymous first person reports of the repercussion of IML. One only needs to copy and paste for a qualitative analysis.

Sure, it would be nice to help Ms. Lee write her thesis or academic paper, but if you believe for one second that a study (from a student? from the Netherlands, no less) will make any difference at all, I have a bridge to sell you. There are dozens of studies from reputable academics (i.e. Ellman, Carpenter, etc) in the US, even from official US Government agencies (i.e. CDCR), that the registry is flawed, if not useless. Makes no difference at all.

This here “The academic and policy literature on International Megan’s Law (IML) is missing the voices of those whose mobility is impacted.” is backwards.

It should be “The actual International Megan’s Law (IML) is missing the, any basis whatsoever for existing in the first place”. That is a paper worth writing.

And someone please break it to Ms. Lee that none of this is punishment.

Does IML cover non-US citizens that do not have a US passport? I’m a Green Card holder, never got deported for fed CP charge. The US has no power over my foreign passport, so I feel that I should have no problems. Is there anyone in the same boat as me and has traveled?

You may not have the mark, but I would still obey the 21-day notification and deregistration requirement if required. Honestly, home would have to be pretty messed up for me to stick around the U.S. as a registraint.

I agree mexico must be the deepest and darkest depths HELL if your still living out here after being labeled a sex offender.
Man i would of told the judge your honor can you please deport me back to mexico i think ima threat to American society.

I’m not Mexican. I’m European, so quality of life is way better. I was supposed to be deported, but immigration took the detainer off me 4 months before release. Threw me and my family for a loop! So yes, stuck here until supervised release is up, then out. Keep waiting for the day that ICE will show up. Totally sucks

I am glad Grace is vetting potential participants first so the data is not skewed in the best of events by those who are not people forced to register and have the marked passport, but want to do harm to the study. Oh yeah, that is a real concern.

I just completed my Zoom call with Grace for this project of hers. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend trying to set up a time to give her your feedback–even if you’ve not traveled due to IML. She wants to hear about that, too.

Echoing what @AJ said, I just completed mine with her as well. Any data from those who are in this or other forums like this is helpful to her in her quest to understand IML and the associated parts as well, e.g. SORNA.

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