Since mutants burst into the general public eye in 2001 with Magneto's attack on Liberty Island, the United States has struggled with the question of mutants, crime, and safety. It has passed a number of federal laws on the subject, fought a Supreme Court battle, and put numerous state-level laws into place. The following are some highlights:
Date: July 17, 2006
Status: Declared unconstitutional March 2, 2010
Description: The first of the mutant registration laws, this federal legislation required all mutants to register their identities and powers in a federal database. This law included a portion that has come to be known as 'Sensitive Positions', which allowed for testing for the X-Factor gene in certain government positions. While registration was declared unconstitutional in 2010, Sensitive Positions remains on the books.
Date: July 17, 2006
Description: Formerly part of Federal Mutant Registration, Sensitive Positions is the colloquial term for the surviving part of the law, which allows for some government positions, such as military and intelligence personnel above a certain rank, to require a 'mutant test' as a matter of course upon promotion. Other less sensitive positions, such as members of police and fire departments, medical workers, and public teachers can be tested should their supervisor demonstrate reasonable suspicion. Employers are legally able to terminate employees who test positive for a mutation deemed to be 'dangerous' in their field of work, as well as employees who refuse to be tested.
Note that legally, employers are not able to terminate employees who simply possess an X-Factor gene - their mutation must be proven 'dangerous.' In practice, however, bias and an actively anti-mutant public feeling result in job loss for even borderline cases. One of the results of this law is that most mutants working in the government sector in any position remain closeted.
In Viella v. Brown University, handed down in 2022, the Supreme Court held that a university could successfully apply Sensitive Positions to refuse admission to a mutant applicant if the mutation was deemed to be 'dangerous' to other students or university staff. As a result, the acceptance of open mutants in higher education varies wildly from institution to institution; in New York, New York University has historically been welcoming.
Description: Shortly after Federal Mutant Registration was declared unconstitutional, Congress passed a law making it illegal to use mutant powers of any sort on another person without their express consent. A few exceptions exist:
Description: Within a few years, states begin to pass laws which vary in the specifics, but which invariably require registration of mutant status and powers in exchange for some state service, typically a driver's license. Texas passed the first law in 2015, with several other states swiftly following suit. In 2032, California became the 49th state to enact such a law, and in 2044, New York, the last holdout, added a law to the books requiring registration in order to obtain a driver's license.
Note: if you need a date for a particular state for your background, let us know and we'll work something out.
Registered mutants are marked as such on their IDs, but the ID does not indicate the nature of their mutation.
Only high levels of each state's government have open access to the full mutant registration database, but smaller branches (such as police departments) and individual employers can request the release of specific records either with a warrant or with a signed release by the individual in question. The databases are maintained at a state and not a federal level, but states tend to cooperate when it comes to sharing basic mutational information, and a law passed in 2027 gives federal agencies such as the FBI full access to these databases.
Description: In 2028, mutants were barred from domestic commercial airline travel in the United States. By 2036, most countries had barred them from international airline travel as well. On entering the US, those arriving are required to declare their mutational status and show ID. It is difficult for mutants to legally enter the US (although easy for them to leave), and there is therefore a thriving business in fake paperwork and smuggling.