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Urgent Action Needed on Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

September 26, 2006

Urgent Action Needed on Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
Sept. 26, 2006 – NTA has learned that the hard fought victory to keep the Stevens/Leahy Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative provisions in the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference is under attack.

While the conference committee has agreed to extend/merge the sea/land WHTI deadlines, and to the other Stevens/Leahy provisions (see below), there is discussion among House leadership to take out the provisions before sending the bill to the floor for passage.

Please contact leadership and ask them to support the conference report as agreed to by the conferees:

Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL)
Tel.: 202.225.2976 Fax: 202.225.0697


Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-OH)
Tel.: 202.225.6205 Fax: 202.225.0704


Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Tel.: 202.225.6536
Fax: 202.225.5604


Also contact Harold Rogers (R-KY), Chairman Subcommittee on Homeland Security, House Appropriations Committee, and ask him to support the agreed to language:


Harold Rogers (R-KY)
Tel: 202.225.5834


The bill is H.R. 5441.

Thanks very much for all of your help on this.

Stevens/Leahy summary:

    1. Extend/merge the sea/land WHTI deadlines until June 1, 2009, at the latest;
    2. Ensure that the technology for any Passport Card meets certain security standards – and that the National Institutes of Standards and Technology certify the technology chosen by DHS and State;
    3. Makes sure the technology to be used by the United States for the passport card and any subsequent change to that technology has been shared with the governments of Canada and Mexico;
    4. Calls for an agreement on the fee to be charged individuals for the passport card, and that a detailed justification has been submitted to the Congress;
    5. Calls for the creation of an alternative procedure to be developed for groups of children traveling across an international border under adult supervision with parental consent;
    6. Requires that the necessary technological infrastructure to process the passport cards has been installed, and all employees at ports of entry have been properly trained in the use of the new technology;
    7. Makes the Passport Card available for international land and sea travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean and Bermuda.
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