State Department Replies to IML Petition
The State Department has modified the Final Rule it published on September 2, 2016, regarding implementation of the International Megan’s Law (IML). The modification corrects the erroneous statement in the Rule regarding whose passports will bear a “unique identifier”
The modification clarifies that “unique identifiers” will be added only to the passports of individuals convicted of a sex offense that involved a minor and who are currently required to register as a sex offender.
The State Department’s modification occurred as the result of a petition filed by the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws (ACSOL) on September 12, 2016. The petition also challenged the State Department’s decision to deny passport cards to the same group of individuals, however, the State Department did not change its position on that topic. According to a letter from the State Department dated October 14, 2016, the agency’s decision not to issue passport cards to some registrants is based upon the “physical and technological limitations of passport cards”.
“The IML does not authorize the State Department to refuse to issue passport cards to any registrant,” stated ACSOL President Janice Bellucci. “Therefore, the agency’s Final Rule is in violation of the law.”
The Final Rule issued by the State Department did not address the “unique identifier” to be added to some registrants’ passports, however, the agency did address that topic in its October 14 letter. According to the letter, “the passport book of a covered sex offender will be endorsed with a short written statement”. The letter did not include the language of such a statement or the location it will be placed.