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U.S. House Passes Language to Require Passport Requirement Study

May 11, 2007

U.S. House Passes Language to Require Passport Requirement Study
May 11, 2007 –On the evening of May 9, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1864, the Department of Homeland Security Authorization bill. In the bill was language drafted by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., that would require DHS to perform an extensive cost-benefit analysis of the Western Hemisphere Passport Initiative before its full implementation.

The bill also would require DHS to conduct a trial on the passport card technology and share the results with Congress before issuing a final rule implementing WHTI.

Other provisions in the bill of note:

  • Requires DHS to develop a six-month grace period for travelers who are not carrying the required WHTI documentation.
  • Exempts children 15 and younger from the documentary requirements for land and sea travel, and authorizes flexibility for groups of children. Although DHS announced a children exemption in February, it is not legally binding and they did not specify if it will include both land and sea travel.
  • Requires DHS to develop a public outreach plan in coordination with the travel and trade community.
  • Requires DHS to report to Congress every 120 days on implementation of WHTI.

NTA will follow developments in the Senate. These provisions would allow for a smoother implementation of the passport mandate and help to minimize cross-border travel disruptions. NTA will provide more information on the Senate deliberations when they occur.

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