MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

Scarlet-Letter Passports Are Unjust and Irrational: New at Reason

The new "unique identifier" for sex offenders stigmatizes people who pose no threat.

JZSJZSThe notice, which will appear on the second-to-last page of U.S. passports, is officially known as an "endorsement," but it is more like a badge of shame. "The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor," it says, "and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l)."

The scary notation, which was revealed this week, is the State Department's response to a 2016 law requiring that the passports of certain registered sex offenders include a "unique identifier" to help maintain their status as pariahs wherever they travel. Although the warning is supposedly aimed at stopping sexual predators from abusing children in other countries, Jacob Sullum says, it will mark the passports of many people who pose no such threat.

View this article

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Don't look at me.||

    You would think we would be happy to have them out of the country since they are such a huge threat.

  • timbo||

    When they start putting scarlet letters on attempted kid rapists like Kevin Spacey, or casting couch rapists like Weinstien, or druggist rapists like Bill Cosby, then we will truly live in a safe zone country..

    Oh wait, Spacey gets a pass because he is gay.

  • lap83||

    I don't think anyone has given Spacey a pass for being gay.

  • Longtobefree||

    The real question is why anyone would want to leave this wonderful country (even on vacation) in the first place, so who really needs a passport?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online