Friday, August 19, 2005

Passports For All Border Crossings

Although Canada is raising a strong objection, new customs and immigration rules may soon require a US passport for all American citizens returning to the States from any non-US territory. This means that even a return from Canada would require a passport, whereas only a birth certificate is required today. (Arab Times: Americans may get ID cards to travel across the border; Passport rules to bolster security).

Only 20% of Americans have a US Passport, something that has our neighbors to the north concerned. At issue is how a passport requirement would impact trade and tourism between the two countries.

A US passport costs a total of $97.00 and is good for 10-years. $9.70 per year seems a small price to pay for the ability to identify people entering the States. The Canadian and Mexican borders remain porous, despite increased security measures introduced after 9/11. It is still extremely easy to gain access to the US coming in from either the north or the south, especially at the heavily congested tourist crossings on the Northway, at Niagara Falls, and at the San Diego crossing into Tijuana. The crossing at Puget Sound only requires a drivers license for entry, yet they are one of the more vocal opponents of the passport requirement. It seems to me that crossings like that are the very reason we need a passport restriction!

There's no legitimate reason that I can see not to require a passport for entry into the US. Since we have no control over the requirements for entry into either Canada or Mexico from other nations, we must establish our own controls at our borders. While I've openly opposed the fingerprinting and photographing of tourists entering the nation, I do not find the requirement to show a universally recognized proof of citizenship identification form (i.e. a passport) as being a burden. It really boils down to this. Either get a passport or don't cross the border.

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2 comments :

Mark in Mexico said...

For "The Last Word on Mexico", please visit

http://markinmexico.blogspot.com/

Kannafoot said...

Interesting site, Mark. The commentary on the history of Mexico and the current state of affairs there is excellent background reading. The plan you propose is certainly a bit extreme (which you openly admit) however I haven't seen any real proposals out there that deal with the problem. One thing I'm sure of is we can't allow the status quo to continue. BTW, with our without that plan, I really do like the part that involves telling Kofi and the boys to get out of New York. That alone would be worth the price of admission.