Senators call for delay in border ID rules

Published on Thu, Jan 31, 2008 by Pat Grubb

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Senators call for delay in border ID rules

By Pat Grubb

Senator Patty Murray joined 18 other northern state senators in writing to Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff to end plans to implement new border ID requirements. The new regulations are scheduled to go into effect today.

Washington’s junior senator, Maria Cantwell, was not one of the signatories to the letter.

The regulations require travelers to present a birth certificate or passport while entering the United States. Oral declarations of citizenship would no longer be allowed.

In their letter, senators questioned “...creating an interim standard – much less one without an agressive public relations campaign to inform the traveling public – will further complicate implementation of definitive citizenship standards... We find it troubling that the DHS is trying to move forward in the interim with a plan to require proof of citizenship at the border prior to the successful implementation of a secure alternative to a passport.

“By trying to impose this requirement, the Administration will exacerbate the current confusion that the WHTI and the passport card are designed to avoid. The new interim procedures are a recipe for long lines at our nation’s border crossings and reduced flow of commerce with no clear increase in security.”

It was announced today that General Dynamics Information Technology of Fairfax has won a five-year, $72.7 million contract from the state department to support the production of passport cards for U.S. citizens.

Applications will be accepted beginning in February but the cards are not expected to be available until later in the spring.