The State Department announced that new U.S. law now requires registered child sex offenders to apply for a new passport that identifies them of their past crime. This change was made to reflect the “International Megan’s Law”, which was passed last year in order to discourage child exploitation.
Registered child sex offenders are now required to apply for a new passport that will include an indicator on its back cover that says “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (U.S. Law).” In addition, convicted child sex offenders will no longer be able to carry a smaller, wallet-sized passport since these won’t be able to accommodate the large size of the newly-issued notice.
The possession of the passport does not restrict their travel, unlike Australia who cancelled the passports to pedophiles. American child sex offenders occasionally make headlines for targeting southeast Asia in particular for their destinations to abuse children where access is greater with some parents prostituting their own children to sexpats.
The State Department are still waiting to receive the full list of names of the affected passport holders from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Registered child sex offenders are still allowed to use their current passports until the State Department are able to finalize the changes after they receive the full list of those affected.
While the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement specified that generating the full list of names is their “priority”, they didn’t reveal when they’d be sending it to the State Department. However, the Department of Homeland Security division did state that they’re “exercising additional vetting procedures” in order to come up with the complete list.
Meanwhile, the “International Megan’s Law” received some criticism in the past ever since it was signed in 2016 by former president Barack Obama. According to RT, civil rights activists exclaimed that the new law violated the constitutional rights of the convicted criminals which in turn could “stigmatize a disfavored minority group.”
According to AP, the controversial law was named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, a victim of a child sex offender who murdered her in New Jersey back in 1994. Despite the significant passport change for those affected, the State department explained that the new notice “will not prevent covered sex offenders from departing the United States, nor will it affect the validity of their passports.”