Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and 45 other members of the California Congressional Delegation sent a letter today to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticizing the State Department for a backlog of 3 million passport applications because of new security rules.
The new security rules require Americans to have passports to travel to (and return from) Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
"Our passport system is in meltdown," Eshoo said. "Despite having two years to prepare its new security rule, the Bush administration isn't even close to being ready to enable Americans to secure the passports they need to comply."
Although the security rule for air travel was to take effect Jan. 23, it has been extended to Sept. 30. Americans returning to the United States by land or sea from Canada or Mexico or by sea from the Caribbean won't need a passport for re-entry until Jan. 31, 2008. But that date may be pushed back because of the passport backlog.