Bush questions passport policy

What others say

Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2005

President Bush has expressed concern over a new security policy that would require U.S. citizens to have a passport in order to re-enter our country from Canada and Mexico. He has a legitimate concern that we share. ...

However, the new security law likely will affect most Americans entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, the Caribbean and Panama. The rules are to be phased in by 2008. ...

While passports are more secure, they also take time — as long as six weeks — and are relatively expensive at $97 for adults and $82 for children under age 16. A family of four could have to invest nearly $400 for a day trip to Victoria or Vancouver, British Columbia.

Another concern is the potential size of the undertaking. No more than 25 percent of Americans currently have a passport, according to the U.S. State Department. Processing what could be millions of applications will put a strain on the system.

New forms of identification already are in the works, including electronic fingerprint imaging. The government should investigate those and other options — in addition to passports — to provide flexibility for people while still providing security for our borders.

— King County Journal, Bellevue, Wash.,

April 17

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