Monday, December 28, 2015

ACTION ALERT: Stop International Megan's Law NOW!!!!

This isn't an Alabama issue, but if you travel internationally, this is of key interest. This is a copy of a letter on International Megan's Law (HR 515), which is on the fast track to passage. This is an ACTION ALERT and we need action NOW! CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR CONGRESSMAN!

On Dec. 18, the U.S. Senate amended and unanimously passed HR 515, which would also include placing unique passport identifiers on passports issued to sex offenders.  The House had previously passed HR 515.  It is very likely this will go to the President to sign in January.

See the bill here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr515

CONTACT YOUR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE BEFORE JANUARY 4, 2016

HERE ARE THE TALKING POINTS YOU SHOULD INCLUDE IN YOUR LETTER:

The Senate passed HR 515 formerly known as "International Megan's Law" with another NEW title "International Megan's Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders" and added a section about passports.

Essentially, all current passports for folks CONVICTED of a sex offense/s MUST be reissued, with the words "SEX OFFENDER" prominently displayed on the passport. And all new passports for folks convicted of sex offenses will be issued with same wording.
The Senate also added a section for appropriating funding ($6,000,000) for each of these years (2017-2019) to implement International Megan's Law.

Advocates and their families and others need to immediately contact their U.S. House Representatives and object to the entire IML bill (and concept), and any other similar bills that may arise.
The FULL bill may be found HERE and the Senate Amendments HERE (The Corker amendment [Sen Bob Corker R-TN] in the Federal Register).

Here's why we should oppose the legislation.

1.  The bill is yet another fear-based, punitive proposal that is absolutely void of empirical evidence that it will promote public safety or reduce child sex trafficking.

2.  The threat to children is proved to be largely (93% according to Department of Justice) from someone they know - a parent, relative or friend – neither a registered sex offender nor a stranger.  Placing travel restrictions on convicted sex offenders 1) does nothing to protect society, 2) adds more restrictions on a group of already-marginalized citizens who have paid their debt to society, and 3) adds another punitive requirement in federal law that is valueless.  According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, “... sex offenders are more likely to be rearrested for nonsexual crimes than sex offenses.”

3.  Citizens across this country have been convicted of single offenses involving someone known to them, have otherwise unblemished records, but are categorized for life as violent offenders.  This punitive proposal targets all convicted offenders.  They currently live and move freely in society without incident, yet somehow they are presumed by this flawed legislation to present a threat in international travel.  Last year, only 18 other countries had enacted any sex offender registration laws, yet Congress is proposing to label its citizens with a past conviction without providing any public safety risk assessment.

4.  Many countries, such as Mexico, don't even have sex offender registries.  Still, U.S. registrants holding valid U.S.passports are routinely being denied entry to Mexico because the U.S. government shares its citizens' criminal histories with other countries.  This punitive bill restricts registrant travel further, causing more collateral damage for family and friends traveling with registrants.

5.  The Angel Watch Center described in the bill is a cute name for more government intrusion into citizens’ lives for absolutely no research-based public safety purpose.  A small minority of states comply with the heavily-referenced Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 and for good reason.  It is another failed memorial policy based on a single tragic event involving one child, not on evidence of improved public safety.

6.  Like its numerous predecessors, this bill is doomed to failure as described by Dr. Richard Wright's book, Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions.  He states,
...American policy responses to prevent or address sexual offending, particularly those enacted within the last twenty years have largely failed.  They have not reduced sex offenders recidivism rates, not provided safety, healing, or support for victims, not reflected the scientific research on sexual victimization, offending, and risk, or not provided successful strategies for prevention. ... these policies have failed by choice.  Policymakers choose to focus on the most heinous sex offenders while ignoring the most common sexual threats that people face.

7.  It’s time for Congress to write laws based on empirical evidence and stop dredging up decades-old memorial laws that have proved themselves to be equally flawed.

As RSOL puts it -

IML will violate the travel rights and due process rights of traveling Americans, may have dangerous collateral consequences for affected citizens, and is not supported by any evidence that it will achieve a reduction in international sex trafficking. There exist proven methods of combating international sex trafficking that are worthy of support by the United States Congress. The International Megan’s Law is not among them. We strongly urge this legislation not be enacted into law.

1 comment:

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