• U.S. Passports of Sex Offenders to Be Marked

    February 11, 2016

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State, Post-Constitution America

    frank moss

    There is of course no “right” to travel. The government, via the Department of State, decides who gets a passport and who may travel on one.

    The first step is that it is the Department of State which decides you are indeed entitled to a nice, blue passport. No birth certificate? Problem. Born in Canada, albeit to two American parents? Maybe we need to talk. Constitution-level stuff.

    Next up are the reasons you can have your passport revoked: treason, national security stuff, swearing allegiance to a foreign power. Pretty heavy stuff, lots of laws, and court challenges can be involved.

    Congress Restricts Travel

    But the Congress has quietly been side-slipping in restrictions on travel.

    An old one is child support. If you owe $2500 of it, no passport. Congress is also flirting with revoking or denying passports to Americans “affiliated” with terror organization and/or seeking to travel abroad for jihad. And there is a move to deny passports to Americans who owe too much in back taxes.

    Sex Offenders’ Passports to Be Marked

    Now, to that growing list add this one: Legislation requiring the State Department to identify registered sex offenders with a special mark on their passports, and to revoke those passports already issued unmarked, was signed on February 8 by Obama. The law (Public Law No: 114-119) also authorizes notification to a destination country (including its visa-issuing agents in the United States) of impending or current international travel of a child-sex offender to that country.

    International Megan’s Law, is supposedly to help prevent sex trafficking, since sex offenders “hop on planes and go to places for a week or two and abuse little children,” the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), said. Smith of course had no actual figures to substantiate his argument, nor did he acknowledge that State can already deny a passport to those convicted of sex tourism involving minors.

    Offenses Against Minors?

    In addition to the new law being the first time in U.S. history that a special class of Americans would be marked on their passports, a chilling event of its own, the law ignores the reality that the sex offender registry is another government “list,” such as no fly, that is relatively easy to get on and very hard to leave.

    Prosecutors have been seeking sex offender registration under child pornography charges against teens who sext, building registry cases against peeping toms, and overall unevenly applying state-by-state standards to something that now may have global impact.

    In at least ten states, you can earn sex offender designation from innocuous forms of indecency like streaking, mooning, or urinating in public. None of the registries provide any factual details of the offenses, just the names of the crimes, and sometimes not even that. So if a registry lists the offense of indecent exposure, for example, the passport people have no way of distinguishing a high school prankster who streaks a football game from a creep who heads off to a playground to flash children for sexual gratification.

    Many registries also contain numerous purely statutory offenders who are often also minors at the time of the offense, such as an 18-year-old who engages in consensual sexual activity with his 16-year-old girlfriend. In many jurisdictions, this would be labeled “sexual assault against a minor.”

    This has resulted in ever-growing lists of offenders. California has the largest list in the country with over one hundred thousand registered sex offenders.

    Everybody hates people who commit sex crimes, even more so those who commit them against children. But marking their passports represents nothing more than chilling use of government power that will accomplish nearly nothing at the loss of something greater.

    (example passport shown for illustration only)

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “example passport shown for illustration only”


      02/11/16 8:07 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Frankie was so proud of the new passport design, which he did mostly by himself, he allowed his own photo and name to appear on the example copy.

      02/11/16 8:24 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      This is just a start. Passports should also have the Scarlet A for adulterers:


      02/11/16 8:30 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      The A stands for assholes such as Bill Clinton.

      02/11/16 8:32 AM | Comment Link

    • jhoover said...


      Next up are the reasons you can have your passport revoked: treason, national security stuff, swearing allegiance to a foreign power

      So about those Terrorists or who on terrorist list?

      Any action to revoke theirs

      02/11/16 1:05 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      They can, and have been, revoked under the existing national security rules.

      02/11/16 1:08 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      So where do you think I stand with a passport stamped with lots of esoteric Arabic lettering and very exotic foreign graphics from Libyan airport personnel a short time before Qaddafi was murdered? Am I considered a terrorist?

      02/11/16 4:47 PM | Comment Link

    • bob said...


      Is it pointless? There are perverts who will travel abroad to exploit the weak law enforcement of less-developed countries so as to satisfy their pedophilia. This mark on their passport will be a tag to ensure that foreign countries know that they have a potential offender entering through passport control.

      02/11/16 6:50 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      First, the mark only applies to registered sex offenders, and that is both an imperfect system as shown in my article, and a narrow one — not all pedos are in it. In addition, the pedos can just stay in the US of course and do what they wish to do. It is also not a huge secret that child sex is for sale in places like Thailand and the Philippines, who already chose to do nothing about it. Lastly, as much as I hate pedos, we might wonder why not mark murderers, bank robbers and other American criminals as well. If Congress was doing anything other than grandstanding, they would revoke the pedos’ passports entirely and not let them travel, instead of hoping some foreign government will deal with it.

      02/11/16 8:10 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      Shouldn’t the “Danger” organ also be photographed, “Carlos’? For accurate ID in case of further crimes, of course.

      02/11/16 7:02 PM | Comment Link

    • Monica said...


      @#9 – REVOKE a ‘pedo’s’ passport and not let them travel? Because you hate them? Like hating a certain ethnic group and not let them travel? Sound familiar? Slip, slip, slide down the slope.

      02/12/16 12:49 AM | Comment Link

    • Monica said...


      02/12/16 12:50 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      Yep. Exactly the kind of case that shows how stupid the new law is.

      02/12/16 8:03 AM | Comment Link

    • Monica said...


      First sentence. “There is of course no “right” to travel.” Oh but there is.

      From Wikipedia:


      Freedom of movement, mobility rights or the right to travel is a human rights concept encompassing the right of individuals to travel from place to place within the territory of a country,[1] and to leave the country and return to it. The right includes not only visiting places, but changing the place where the individual resides or works.[2][1]

      Such a right is provided in the constitutions of numerous states, and in documents reflecting norms of international law. For example, as expressed in article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it asserts that:

      – a citizen of a state in which that citizen is present has the liberty to travel, reside in, and/or work in any part of the state where one pleases within the limits of respect for the liberty and rights of others,[3]
      – and that a citizen also has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country at any time.[4]


      And there is a RIGHT for a US Citizen, not on parole or probation, or delinquent on child support or tax liabilities, to legally acquire a passport. Yes. A RIGHT. Just saying.

      02/12/16 12:53 AM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      The right to travel does not exist in the US Constitution, though of course there is the UN Declaration. The freedoms of US of A people are rarely considered against what the UN says, however. Not sure about that right to a US passport — link?

      02/12/16 8:02 AM | Comment Link

    • Links 12/2/2016: Russian’s Government With GNU/Linux, India’s Wants FOSS | Techrights said...


      […] U.S. Passports of Sex Offenders to Be Marked […]

      02/12/16 6:27 AM | Comment Link

    • Sara said...


      A good friend of mine is a registered sex offender because he commmited indecent exposure in a bar parking lot. It has already prevented him from getting several jobs and of course caused him to experience massive embarrassment and alienatio. To think a drunk mistake in your twenties can haunt someone for their entire life seems like the Scarlet letter not about protecting children.

      02/16/16 8:14 PM | Comment Link

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