New York business leaders, politicians say border security measure too costly

Published 21 November 2005

Business leaders in upstate New York are worried that the proposed Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative would cost them dearly. Currently, a driver’s license or birth certificate is all that is needed to cross into Canada and back, but the initiative would require passports by 2008 at all land crossings into the United States. Business leaders and state politicians argue that the requirement to obtain a $97 passport would stall tourism and commerce between the United States and Canada, without doing much to stop terrorists because the latter tend not to bother with niceties such as entering the country legally. State politicians argue that the requirement will be a double blow since the northern edge of the state is also an economically challenged region. Any deterrent to tourism or trade is going to hurt a lot of New Yorkers. Quebec premier Jean Charest, Governor George Pataki, and Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer are urging the government to find a more practical, less expensive option than passports.

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