Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

September 26, 2006

Congress postpones WHTI deadlines

Filed under: Border Security,Congress and HLS — by Christian Beckner on September 26, 2006

The House and Senate have agreed to postpone the deadlines for the implementation of the requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, in language included in the FY 2007 DHS appropriations bill. AP notes:

plan to tighten U.S. borders by requiring passports or tamper-resistant identification cards from everyone entering the country has been delayed.

House and Senate lawmakers agreed to push back the program by 17 months, saying they want to make sure new ID cards being developed by the Bush administration will better secure borders against terrorists without slowing legitimate travelers from Canada and Mexico. The new ID’s will be required for Americans and all others entering the U.S.

That pushes the WHTI land border deadline back to the middle of 2009, which should give DHS and the State Department sufficient time to develop a workable solution for meeting the WHTI mandates. However, simply kicking the ball down the road doesn’t magically resolve the lingering disputes between DHS and State over technology, nor does it ensure that the business model for implementing WHTI without disrupting or deterring cross-border travel is sound. And this delay has its downsides: it leaves open critical gaps in the nation’s border security that were identified by the 9/11 Commission’s monograph on terrorist travel and which the WHTI elements of the Intelligence Reform Act were intended to address.

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2 Comments »

Pingback by The news just keeps sneaking across the border - Homeland Stupidity

September 27, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

[...] Congress agreed to delay until June 2009 a requirement of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that all people coming into the U.S. via land border crossings carry a passport or other authorized documentation, primarily due to complaints from border states about the loss of tourism. Cruise lines had also complained about the regulations, saying they could have a negative impact on Caribbean cruise tourists, but they don’t get a pass: Air and sea travelers will have to have a passport after Jan. 8, 2007. (Hat tip) [...]

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