Sunday, May 11, 2014

Action Alert Federal Bill HR4573, NOT HR2848: International Megan's Law Passed Through U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday and Now Heads to the Full House (U.S. Congress) for a Vote and it Could Restrict Passports!

The U.S. Government and its citizens don't want the 750,000+ people who've been given the life long label of public Sex Offender under the guise of public safety and because they have the "right" to know all about them in their backyard. But now, they don't want them/you to be able to leave the U.S. either! 

Poe, Ted [R-TX2]                               (joined May 09, 2014)
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R-FL27]        (joined May 09, 2014)
Sires, Albio [D-NJ8]                           (joined May 09, 2014)
Wagner, Ann [R-MO2]                       (joined May 09, 2014)
McCaul, Michael [R-TX10]                (joined May 13, 2014)
Royce, Edward “Ed” [R-CA39]        (joined May 13, 2014)
Yoho, Ted [R-FL3]                              (joined May 13, 2014) 

Additional references/points to make in your letter, email or fax to Virginia’s Federal Representatives: 

HR4573 completely ignores the last 20 years of data of who is sexually abusing children in the U.S. and abroad.
  • National recidivism rate for all registered sex offenders committing a new sexual offense within 3 years is 2.5-5.3%*the 2nd lowest of all crimes.
  • 90% (9 out of 10) sexual assaults are perpetrated by a family member or acquaintance of the victim, neither by a stranger nor by someone on a registry.
  • 1 in 7 children are sexually exploited online. This data comes from the very reputable Crimes Against Children Research Center, however, very few take the time to read the report carefully. Most children are sexually solicited by their classmates, peers, or young adults just a few years older than they are. And most of these sexual solicitations don't upset teens. Alarm bells should go off over the tiny percentage of youth who are upsettingly solicited by people who are much older than them.
*Bureau of Justice Services

The Federal Adam Walsh Act compliance deadline was 3 years ago and only 17 out of 50 states have met Congress’ requirements (or demands of the Act) because each State writes its own criminal codes and manages its own Sex Offender Registry. There is no consistency among the 50 states but HR4573 assumes there is. 

HR4573 will capture the 18, 19 and 20 year old boyfriends and girlfriends who had consensual sexual contact or just asked for sexual contact with their 15, 16 and 17 year old partner and were convicted for violating the states criminal code. It will also capture the 15, 16 and 17 year olds who “sext” images of themselves to others and it will capture whoever received those images even if they did not solicit them. 

The inclusion of ALL offenders convicted of a sex crime against a minor in HR4573 is political posturing and fear-mongering to keep America’s parents deceived about where the real dangers lie. Among family, friends, teachers, coaches and mentors who are not listed on the Sex Offender registries. 

The U.S. needs to stop wasting millions of dollars establishing Committees, Commissions, Units, Departments, Task Forces and Ad Campaigns.

HR4573 continues to perpetuate the inaccurate boogeyman concept that does nothing to protect America’s children but instead promotes the statistically anomalous dangers. 

If protecting America’s children is the real desire (and not just a future campaign brochure headline) behind HR4573 then piling on additional restrictions, demands, processes, barriers and fees onto those who are already listed on the public registries of shame does nothing to accomplish that. 

If HR4573 should be amended to only be applied to those convicted of Prostitution of a Minor/Human Trafficking, Transporting a Minor across States-lines or of Sex Crimes Against children Abroad/Internationally (they have a history of traveling for sex). These are the people who might travel abroad n the future to sexually abuse children, not every Registered Sex Offender in America! 

Original Post: 

Attention Readers, 

New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith has been attempting to pass an “International Megan’s Law” in Washington D.C. for many years. 

I’ve posted about the Chris Smith “IML” bills before here, here and here.   

No two were ever the same.
  • In 2008 it was HR5722, it failed to move forward.
  • In 2009 it was HR1623, it failed to move forward.
  • In 2010 it was HR5138, it failed to move forward. Also in 2010 there was Representative Ted Poe’s bill HR5870 blatantly titled; To restrict passports of certain sex offenders, and for other purposes. It failed to move forward.
  • In 2011 there was HR3253 plus TWO “Trafficking” Bills with passport restrictions for RSO’s HR2830 AND HR3589, they all failed to move forward.
  • In 2013 AND still pending (as of May 2014) is his HR898-Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2013 also with a Registered Sex Offender passport restrict/revoke mandate. 
I found the below article about New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith’s “International Megan’s Law” moving through Congress and then received a notice from eAdvocate. 

The current version to restrict/revoke the passports of Registered Sex Offenders that I had been watching was HR2848- Department of State Operations and Embassy Security Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2014. It was a last minute amendment that was added last August 1st  (2013) that grants the Secretary of State discretion to limit the valid duration of passports for convicted sex offenders listed on the National Sex Offender Registry, or to revoke the passport of an individual convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in a foreign country of a sex offense. The International Megan’s Law amendment that has been tacked on to HR2848 allowed open discretion to the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office to revoke passports will most likely turn into a blanket-ban against ALL Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) in the U.S. Only offenders who have been convicted of Trafficking Humans or of International Sexual Crimes should be evaluated and considered for passport and travel restrictions internationally. And that should be on a case-by-case basis, not a one-size-fits-all mandate. 

But on May 6, 2014 Congressman Smith submitted yet another version of “IML” HR4573- To protect children from exploitation, especially sex trafficking in tourism, by providing advance notice of intended travel. 

HR4573- directs the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish within the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security a Center, to be known as the Angel Watch Center. The Center shall be headed by the Director of ICE, in collaboration with the Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and in consultation with the Attorney General. 

At first HR4573 seemed like a reasonable bill where the U.S would notify other countries of an RSO coming their way and other countries would notify the U.S. of their RSO’s coming here, establish a system to maintain and archive all relevant information, including the response of destination countries to notifications under subsection (e) where available, and decisions not to transmit notification abroad, establish an annual review process to ensure that the Center is consistent in procedures to provide notification to destination countries or not to provide notification to destination countries, as appropriate and establish a mechanism to receive complaints from child-sex offenders affected by notifications of destination countries of such child-sex offenders.

I personally do not oppose any of these proposals, then I reached section 5 and NOW I oppose HR4573 and ask all of you to also.

Sec. 5.Authority to restrict passports

(a)In general.—
The Secretary of State is authorized to— 
(1)limit to 1 year or such period of time as the Secretary of State shall determine appropriate the period of validity of a passport issued to a child-sex offender; and 
(2)revoke the passport or passport card of an individual who has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in a foreign country of a child-sex offense.  

(b)Limitation for return to united states.—
Notwithstanding subsection (a), in no case shall a United States citizen convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in a foreign country of a child-sex offense be precluded from entering the United States due to a passport revocation under such subsection. 

An individual whose passport or passport card was revoked pursuant to subsection (a)(2) may reapply for a passport or a passport card at any time after such individual has returned to the United States. 

(d)Time limitation.—
The time limitation on validity or revocation of a passport or passport card under subsection (a) may not exceed the applicable registration period for the child-sex offender to register pursuant to section 115 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16915). 

So as with earlier bill versions possible passport revocation,  1 year expiration dates, a lengthy application/approval process and additional fees to cover this program are all on the horizon for U.S. RSO’s who want to travel internationally. 

The term child-sex offense for this proposal means a specified offense against a minor as defined in paragraph (7) of section 111 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16911), including—
(i) an offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving kidnapping;
(ii) an offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving false imprisonment;
(iii) solicitation to engage in sexual conduct;
(iv) use in a sexual performance;
(v) solicitation to practice prostitution;
(vi) video voyeurism as described in section 1801 of title 18, United States Code;
(vii) possession, production, or distribution of child pornography;
(viii) criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, or the use of the Internet to facilitate or attempt such conduct; and
(ix) any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor. 

I ask that ALL of you please contact your one U.S. Congress Representative and both of our U.S. Senators ask them to amend HR4573 to be applied to only those of Human Trafficking or International Sex Crimes immediately!   

Even if you or your loved one (who is an RSO) don’t plan on traveling internationally, don’t take the attitude of it doesn’t affect me so why should I care. Any restriction imposed across the board to RSO’s especially laws restricting movement affect us all and we need to speak up! 

Please take the time to email, call, write or fax your Federal Representatives this week!  

Thank you. 

Mary D. Devoy 

International Megan's Law moves through Congress, May 11, 2014

The International Megan’s Law cleared a major hurdle Friday when the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed it. 

Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) has worked to pass the bill, which would expand the system of registering and tracking sex offenders to the international community, since 2008, when he first introduced the legislation. It was previously approved by the House in 2010. 

It bears the name of Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old from Hamilton who, in 1994, was kidnapped, raped and killed by a repeat sex offender living nearby. 

Under the bill, the United States would notify countries where registered sex offenders were seeking to travel. Those countries, in turn, would be asked to inform the U.S. when sex offenders travel to the U.S.

“The goals of this legislation do not stop at protecting children overseas from U.S. predators,” Smith said in a statement. “Sex offenders around the world are now able to cross borders and oceans to carry out their nefarious activity under the cloak of anonymity and disappear before a child is able or willing to reveal the crime.” 

“The International Megan’s Law would establish the model needed for the U.S. to persuade other countries to take action to stop child sex tourism originating within their borders and threatening children in the United States and elsewhere,” Smith continued. “The goal is reciprocal notice.” 

Smith said the International Megan’s Law would work in conjunction with anti-human trafficking laws, which Smith wrote and steered through Congress in 2000. 

The bill is expected to be brought before the full House in the near future.