Apparently the US government is expanding its ex-post facto punishment scope by advising other countries to not accept US citizens that have ever been RSOs. From what I've read, even after being removed from registry, this does not fix the problem.
I was just refused entry into Mexico despite having been there at least a dozen times in the last 10 years. Nearly two decades ago I plead Alford to “possession of a visual depiction of a minor under the age of 16″, which at that time in my state was the lowest level felony and for which I received a couple years of probation. As it turns out, the girl was over 16 – and a stripper at a local strip club, but I’d already taken the plea once we found this out. I completed probation and haven’t been in any trouble at all since then.
I was very recently (2014) traveling with my family including my in-laws, my mom, my wife, and daughter. When the plane arrived and before anyone got off the plane, they announced over the speaker that I needed to get off the plane first. I was escorted off and taken to a room an interviewed by about 5 gentlemen – all taking notes. Three of them had camera phones. The lead guy (who was the only one that spoke) asked if I’d ever had trouble with the law. I told him that he must know that already or I wouldn’t be there. I told them of my conviction, that it was nearly two decades ago, and that there was no physical contact with the alleged victim. The lead guy wrote this all down and faxed it back to Mexico City. Within 10 minutes it was determined that I would not be allowed to stay in the country.
This was highly embarrassing. Here I have my in-laws and my mom. We spent about $15,000 just on hotel. They were all allowed to stay in the country, but I was put on the next plane back to the US 40 minutes later (which was the same plane I flew in on). In retrospect from what I’ve read elsewhere, I was very lucky I didn’t sit in the airport for days.
Upon realizing I was there with my family, the lead immigration guy at my destination was very sympathetic. I feel that were it were up to him personally, I would have been able to stay. He told me that “the US State Department had contacted Mexico City and told them that I was coming” – Those are the exact words he used. He showed me the paper he received from his Mexico City office, but it was in spanish, so I couldn’t read it. There was one line that said something like “sexual” that he pointed at. I did not see a photo with it though these guys probably took 5 photos of me while I was there. These guys were very nice and professional and treated me well.
When I returned to the US, I went through US Customs and went through the usual extended screening BS that all RSOs get to enjoy. The US Customs agent said that “in the past few months”, that this was happening every single day multiple times and that “something must be going on.”
I told my family to go ahead and enjoy the vacation since it was paid for but this sucks for me. If they came back with me, it would be even worse for me since I’d have the guilt of that on top of all the money lost. At first I thought this was politically motivated as punishment for being outspoken and donating to the wrong candidates, but reading this here, obviously there are other forces at work. I am going to look into other (legal) avenues to get permission to enter the country if possible. Again, I’ve been to Mexico a dozen times in the past decade – and I’d been to this particular city three times. I do feel that the US is trying to create a defacto prison from which we cannot escape.
I read somewhere else online today that there was a law signed by the president of Mexico December 3 barring all RSOs from entering the country but wasn’t able to find any other verification of that.
From what I've found online, there is as of now a COMPLETE and TOTAL lockout of travel to either Canada or Mexico for US RSOs - even if you have family living there - and this is a culmination of the "International Tracking of Sex Offenders Working Group" (PDF)
It is amazing to me that there is ZERO information on this being made available to RSOs.
- International Travel – Mexico
- GAO - Sharing More Information Will Enable Federal Agencies to Improve Notifications of Sex Offenders' International Travel