Eshoo, colleagues blast passport backlog

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.

-- Don Kazak


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2007 at 11:07 am

The one problem with this backlog and the waiving for Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean is that the problem is a lot worse for those who need passports to get into other countries in the world. Business travellers as well as tourists are getting caught up in this backlog and without a valid up to date passport, world travellers are in a mess of not their own doing.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2007 at 11:19 am

What I fear this criticism will do is cause the process to be accelerated, the way payments were accelerated, bypassing usual safeguards to get relief to Katrina survivors. We are still trying to recover half a billion dollars of payments fraudulently applied for that the usual process would have caught.
I wonder if Congress bothered to ask what the impact of the schedule would be before the schedule was established?

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Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 22, 2007 at 11:39 am

I saw something on TV this morning about how foreign tourism is down in the US, and "officials" are wondering why. That is the flip side of the passport issue, the protracted process of issuing visas to those who want to visit this country has discouraged many people who should be welcomed here for business and pleasure are caught up in the effort to make sure no "terrorists" or "illegal aliens" get in here.

Government tools are blunt instruments at every level, and the higher up the food chain you go, the blunter they get. Some of this passport and visa stuff comes across to me the same way as does airport screening my carry on baggage for explosive shampoos and toothpaste tubes. That is, a huge waste of time and money that does little to protect us from really dangerous people.

Circle the wagons, pull up the draw bridges, welcome to America, now go home. Or if you are returning American, just why did you need to leave the country in the first place?

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Yes, and anybody with a brain and/or a heart shouldn't lock their doors because it would be so much better to let anybody come in who needs a place to crash.

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