Child sex offenders to be named as such in US passports

2017-11-02 19:11
United States Department of State seal on a podium at the State Department in Washington. (Alex Brandon, AP, file)

United States Department of State seal on a podium at the State Department in Washington. (Alex Brandon, AP, file)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - America's registered child sex offenders will now have to use passports identifying them for their past crimes when travelling overseas.

The State Department said on Wednesday it would begin revoking passports of registered child sex offenders and will require them to apply for a new one that carries a "unique identifier" of their status. Those applying for a passport for the first time will not be issued one without the identifier, which will be a notice printed inside the back cover of the passport book that reads: "The bearer was convicted of a sex offence against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (US law)."

The department said in a statement posted to its travel.state.gov website that registered child sex offenders will no longer be issued smaller travel documents known as passport cards because they do not have enough room to fit the notice.

The changes come in response to last year's "International Megan's Law", which aims to curb child exploitation and child sex tourism, but also has been criticised by civil libertarians for being overly broad and targeting only one category of convicted felon.

The law is named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl murdered by a convicted child sex offender in New Jersey in 1994. The case drew widespread attention and led to the creation of several state sex offender registries. Government agencies notified Congress on Wednesday the passport requirement of the law had taken effect.

The State Department, which issues US passports, said it will start notifying those affected as soon as it receives their names from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security. That agency is charged with identifying child sex offenders and is the sole agency that can add or remove someone from the list.

Affected passport holders will be able to travel abroad on their current passports until the revocations are formalised, the department said, and it wasn't immediately clear when immigration and homeland security officials would provide that list.

The Homeland Security Department declined to comment.

Critics say the passport requirement will limit the ability of those affected to lawfully travel abroad.

The State Department said the language in the passports "will not prevent covered sex offenders from departing the United States, nor will it affect the validity of their passports".

However, it also noted that American citizens, like those of other nations, are subject to the entry laws, rules and requirements of countries they wish to visit. Many countries prohibit or place strict restrictions on the travel of convicted felons.

State Department officials said they weren't aware of any other group of felons who'll be identified as offenders in their passports.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.