February 2, 2016
"International Megan's Law" heading now to Prez Obama's desk
As reported in this dispatch from The Hill, the US House of Representatives "easily cleared legislation on Monday to expand efforts within the Department of Homeland Security to track registered child sex offenders’ travel plans as a means of combatting human trafficking." Here is more about a bill often called an international Megans Law:
The measure, passed by voice vote, would codify the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “Operation Angel Watch” program that determines whether countries should be notified of sex offenders’ travel. Under the legislation, sex offenders would be required to report to law enforcement when they plan to travel internationally. Sex offenders who fail to comply would face up to ten years in prison.
In addition, the State Department will be obligated to create a unique identifier for child sex offenders’ passports. Lawmakers said the provisions would help prevent sex offenders from trying to break the law undetected. “Child predators thrive on secrecy,” said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), the bill’s author.
The House previously passed a version of the bill last January, and the Senate later approved it with amendments by unanimous consent in December. Congress last year approved legislation to create a fund for victims of sex trafficking and give prioritize states for federal grants if they establish “safe harbor” laws for child victims of trafficking.
Last month here at The Volokh Conspirary, David Post expressed concerns about this legislation. The title of the post reveals the basic nature of his concerns: "The yellow star, the scarlet letter, and ‘International Megan’s Law’." The Marshall Project has this new piece echoing similar themes under the headline "Congress Acts to Mark Passports of Sex Offenders: Target of legislation is sex-traffickers; critics call it a ‘scarlet letter’."
February 2, 2016 at 07:43 AM | Permalink
Anyone who does NOT invoke Godwin's Law here is burying their head in the sand!
Gee, how could such awful atrocities take place in a "civilized" country like Germany? Now we know how they begin.
Posted by: albeed | Feb 2, 2016 11:08:09 AM
Because every generation needs to rebel and conform at the same time. They do this by rebelling against their parents and conforming to each other. The fact that their evil behavior is simply old wine in new wineskins is irrelevant because it is the new wineskins that matter. I mean, it's not evil when WE do it.
Posted by: Daniel | Feb 2, 2016 12:44:55 PM
I'm sorry, I also cannot resist taking a shot at Doug B. This legislation is yet more evidence in support of why I am a pessimist. Because there is nothing in human history that shows human beings becoming less cruel over time, at least not as a result of political or legal processes. Chemists, pharmaceutical companies, and technology in general has made the world less cruel than anything the law profession has ever demonstrated itself capable of.
Posted by: Daniel | Feb 2, 2016 12:51:03 PM
" Chemists, pharmaceutical companies, and technology in general has made the world less cruel than anything the law profession has ever demonstrated itself capable of."
You can also throw in good engineers.
All you have to do is look at the economic and physical science stupidity of the "ethanol mandate" to realize what fools and evil beings we humans are, led by the pandering politicians.
Posted by: albeed | Feb 2, 2016 3:00:41 PM
When watching the documentary Paragraph 175 about the Nazi sex crimes law as the kick-start of the Holocaust, it was sometimes tempting to think, "Well, that was the law, don't break it" or, "Well, they deserved it" or some other common explanation for doing nothing. Then the cognitive dissonance seeps in when realizing the logical conclusion. Maybe today the EPA would frown on human ashes drifting in the air and would require the proper "regulations" or maybe not. Some would love the smell of burning people in the morning.
Posted by: George | Feb 2, 2016 3:19:49 PM
I am not sure, Daniel, either what I have done here for you to take a shot at me or exactly what your shot is.
Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 2, 2016 3:47:02 PM
I can see another possible disasterous scenario resulting from such a law. If airport and government officials use this international Megan's Law to create a new No Fly list, one could see any passenger affected by it act out at the airport in a dangerous way.
Imagine, if you will, a passenger is suddenly told that he or she cannot fly due to this new law, that individual might act out against this No-Fly law by deliberately running into a high-security/off-limits part of the airport with the intention of causing a lockdown over the entire airport, leading to cancellations of everybody else's flights--at least for several hours. You will have several angry passengers who will, though not subject to this law, nonetheless see their flights canceled. This former sex offender's rage at this law could, in other words, spell trouble for everybody else who wants to use the airport. Whether these passengers will want to lynch the individual former sex offender who deliberately set off the airport alarm with the intent of causing mayhem for all other passengers; or, whether they instead will more sensibly want to put blame on Belt Way politicians who engineered this stupid law in the first place is anybody's guess. I would call this scenario, the "If I can't fly from this airport, then nobody else can!" response by the person subject to this new No-Fly law.
Posted by: william r. delzell | Feb 2, 2016 4:17:45 PM
The passport marking will certainly be challenged ASAP after Obama signs this law.
As a CJS grad student, this "feels" blatantly unconstitutional. Can any constitutional scholars tell me how this will play out? Will a district court judge immediately issue an injunction? What are the odds this survives constitutional challenges?
Posted by: Joseph R | Feb 2, 2016 4:33:13 PM
"Taking a shot" was not the best phraseology in this context. The discussion we had on MLK day in the comments section on this blog is still on my mind...that is what the "taking a shot" language was referring to. It wasn't anything personal.
Posted by: Daniel | Feb 2, 2016 6:11:19 PM
My guess is that it will easily survive constitutional muster. If lifetime registry requirements are regulatory, and lifetime GPS monitoring is regulatory, I don't see how this bill is also not regulatory. SCOTUS has upheld such requirements against both a 4A (unreasonable search) and 1A challenge (compelled speech) so I don't see what new arguments are that would persuade anyone to change their minds. Indeed, given the special sensitivity the court gives to issues surrounding the border that seems to make passports more likely--rather than less-to be given deference.
So while I am sure it will be challenged my guess is that those challenges will ultimately fail.
Posted by: Daniel | Feb 2, 2016 6:19:29 PM
When I was a Soviet citizen, and after 1991 citizen of Belarus, there was a line in my passport which identified me as a Jew.
This looked like: 5. Nationality: Jew.
Even all russian jews was not religious, because soviet state destroyed all Jewish religious institutions, closed jewish schools, destroyed all books on their language. The only thing they kept was Jew in passport, just like nazi Germany J.
Nazi Germany was not the only country known to add such a moniker to the passports of its citizens. There were USSR and Belarus. As you understand identifying somebody as a Jew was very harmful for that person, discrimination at any situation like getting job, education and so on. Even beating by angry idiots hating you just for being a Jew.
I remember my grandfather story from ww2. He had document identify him as a Jew, and he took passport of dead person without such identity. This way he was not killed by Germans nazi. All people with jew in their documents were killed by nazi who also were christians.
Here is article i wrote:
Posted by: Fima | Feb 2, 2016 7:15:02 PM
Last time I checked, Doug B was on our side. He doesn't care for idiocy of the politicians either.
Posted by: Book38 | Feb 2, 2016 7:35:01 PM
This law offers nothing more than a false sense of security. In all actually it’s nothing more than a “Gateway Law.” Once this law is implemented, what’s to stop the government from passing a law which requires all U.S. citizens to state additional life threatening information on their passports. If you support this law then you are asking for a future where YOU will have YOUR PASSPORT stating such information as/but not limited to: YOUR RELIGION (imagine how dangerous this would be for you and your family to travel if the passport stated that you are Muslims, Christians, Jewish, Catholics, or any other religion which would target you and your family for harassment, discrimination, retaliation and/or threats) , YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION (imagine how dangerous this would be for you and your family to travel if the passport stated that you or one of your family members are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or some other sexual classification which would target you and your family for harassment, discrimination, retaliation and/or threats) YOUR OCCUPATION (imagine how dangerous this would be for you and your family to travel if the passport stated that your occupation or one of your family members occupation was in law enforcement, the military or any other filed which would target you and your family for harassment, discrimination, retaliation and/or threats). These are just a few examples. What’s to stop the Government from also passing a law that gives them the authority to stop you or any U.S. citizen from traveling outside the country? (imagine never being able to travel outside the country because you were delinquent on government college loans, imagine never being able to travel outside the country because you had a prior arrest for something as minor as disturbing the peace, imagine never being able to travel outside the country because you had a prior arrest even though it was dropped or acquitted, imagine never being able to travel outside the country because you’ve had too many driving tickets or DUI’s, or imagine never being able to travel outside the country because of some other B.S. the Government deems credible) The government is simply using the public’s hatred of sex offenders as a gateway to gain power and authority to overstep their United States Constitutional and Civil boundaries. This sex offender passport law violates numerous United States Constitutional and Civil Laws. Don’t be deceived! Once we let the Government cross the line, there is no going back!!!
-“Who is going to have a unique identifier added to their passport next? Is it going to be Muslims? Is it going to be gays?” asks Janice Bellucci, a civil rights attorney.
The United States Constitutional and Civil Laws were made to protect us United States citizens from Government corruption. What is the point of this country having Constitutional and Civil Laws if we allow the Government to violate them?
**Branding a human being and FOREVER denying them the right to leave a country is exactly what the Nazi’s did to the Jewish people and it‘s also a form of slavery. This is far more than just a Constitutional Rights issue, this is clearly a Human Rights issue and the United Nations should take notice**
Posted by: Wakeup American | Mar 29, 2016 8:43:40 PM