Passport rule may be delayed

| 12/19/2007

A Department of Homeland Security rule that would require passports at all United States border crossings may be delayed for at least a year for truckers and others coming and going to the U.S.

The House voted on Monday, Dec. 17, to delay implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the new security rule requiring passports at all U.S. border crossings. Instead of beginning in 2008, enforcement of the new rule would be delayed until at least June 1, 2009, if the Senate and President Bush also approve the postponement.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY, is chairwoman of the House Rules Committee and sponsor of the measure, which calls for a thorough study of alternative IDs and technologies before requiring passports.

“My language will help prevent the chaos that we’ve already seen caused with the implementation of WHTI in its current form. By fixing this initiative, we will keep our economy growing and our land borders open to the travel and trade that is a necessity and a right for border residents,” Slaughter stated in a press release dated Tuesday, Dec. 18.

When the government began requiring passports for U.S. airline travelers returning from Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, the wait time for a passport went from about a month to three months.

Staff Writer Clarissa Kell-Holland contributed to this report.