A Passport Processing employee prints a new passport at the Miami Passport Agency June 22, 2007 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Child sex offenders registered in America will have to use passports that include notices to tell foreign officials of their convictions in the United States, State Department officials said this week.
In a statement posted to travel.state.gov, officials said that the department is including “a unique identifier” on passports of Americans convicted of child sex crimes. The identifier will be a statement included on the back cover of the offender’s passport book that says, “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l).”
Officials said registered child sex offenders will no longer be able to get passport cards, because the cards have no room to print the statement.
State Department officials told The Associated Press that it will begin notifying people affected by the change “as soon as (the department) receives their names from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security.”
The ICE Angel Watch Center is charged with determining whether a person is a “covered sex offender,” according to the State Department.
It was not immediately clear when the names would be given to the State Department. A spokesman for ICE told the AP that the agency is “exercising additional vetting procedures” to compile the names, but could provide no timeline for getting the names to the State Department.
Passport holders affected by the change will be able to continue traveling with their passports “until the revocations are formalized,” State Department officials told the AP.
The change comes nearly two years after Congress enacted the International Megan’s Law, which prohibits the State Department from issuing passports to registered sex offenders without “a unique identifier.”
The law was named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl who was murdered in 1994 by a convicted child sex offender in New Jersey.