Saturday, April 09, 2005

On Passports

(wow - two posts in one day. I must be becoming a real blogger or something...)

I have been trying to come to grips with how I really feel about this new rule about passports. That is, the rule that within the year Canadians and Mexicans crossing the border will require passports, and that by the end of 2008 EVERYONE (including US citizens) will need their passports to enter. Oops, I need to add that this also includes the Carribean islands.

On the one hand, it's about time I guess. On the other hand, I can recall the big todo (positive, that is) about our relatively open borders, especially the one with Canada. And then there is/was the discussion of the cost of closing the border effectively against illicit bordercrossings.

Two thoughts come to mind. The first is that our legislative body is packed with idiots. Not necessarily due to the border tightening, but the idiotic expectation that they'll be able to delay any need for US citizens crossing to get passports. Tit for Tat is obvious, and if we're going to require our neighbors to have passports to enter, then they're going to reciprocate. By the end of 2008 it'll be a moot point - any outbound citizen will have had to have had one to have crossed the border for (by then) two years already.

The second is that whether they intended to or not (and some did), they've effectively gutted NAFTA. For that matter, a LOT of North American organizations are going to be severely hampered by this. No more "just a driver's license" crossings. Passport, verify passport, stamp passport with temporary entry visa...

I'd like to digress briefly to point out one of the reasons the whole issue of illegal aliens bothers me. I not only watched "Born in East LA" (imdb link here), one of my best friends in High School (in Colorado) experienced it. Third generation US citizen, travelling in Texas over the summer before taking his slot to the Air Force Academy. Fortunately, he was able to call his family and THEY took care of it, but it means he didn't (and doesn't) laugh at the movie when he sees it. I'll probably post another time on how I'd deal with the immigration issue, but I'll say up front that not only is there an easy solution but I don't think there's an absolutely good solution either.

Back to the original subject, though... This requirement that we all need passports to leave or enter the country is going to have a nasty impact on states both north and south, an impact I don't think the folk in charge really anticipated. Or if they did, they certainly weren't up front with those expectations.


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