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Bush Asks for Review of Passports Rule

April 15, 2005

Bush Asks for Review of Passports Rule
April 15, 2005 – USA Today reports that President Bush has ordered a review of the new passport rules, requiring American citizens to show a passport to re-enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, Panama, Bermuda and the Caribbean by 2008.

During a luncheon of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Bush indicated he was surprised when he learned of the rule, which was mandated as part of the intelligence overhaul he signed into law last December.

"When I first read that in the newspaper about the need to have passports … I said, ‘What’s going on here?’ " Bush said.

Bush said he has instructed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Homeland Security department officials to revisit the anti-terrorism plan. He warned it could "disrupt the honest flow of traffic" across the borders.

Until now, Canadians have been the only foreigners allowed to enter the U.S. with just a driver’s license and Americans returning home from Canada have only needed to show a driver’s license or other government-issued photo identification card.

But Bush said he thought there was a "better way to expedite the legal flow of traffic and people." He suggested that "finger imaging," or a fingerprint scan, could be used for those who cross daily.

The State Department is reviewing alternatives, including special documents that require background checks, for people who commute to work across the border or transport goods back and forth.

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