Senators from Canada-bordering states object to card requirement

Published 30 January 2006

First, DHS wanted U.S. and Canadian citizens crossing the border for shopping to present passports at border checkpoints; a month ago the department relaxed this requirement, saying new driver license-like cards would do; senators from border states say this still too disruptive

U.S. senators from states which share a border with Canada complained Friday about plans to require a new security card for Americans coming back from Canada, telling a committee hearing it will hurt the economy. The United States announced this month it was canceling plans to require passports and will instead start issuing a security card at about one-half the cost by the end of the year. Border-state senators insist that even this measure will be disruptive. “We want to make sure we don’t do something that doesn’t (actually) increase security but instead really harms our economy and the tourism industry,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington). Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), said the United States and Canada should work it out so the same cards are acceptable on both sides of the border. Canadian officials have said they will devise a system that links up with the U.S. one.

Under U.S. law, the cards will be required by 1 January 2008, from all Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans arriving in the United States over a land crossing. Murray suggested the U.S. administration set up an advisory committee with business people and politicians from border states to investigate the impact of the travel cards.

-read more in this report