FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2005
Schumer Renews Call For Feds To Come To North Country For Meeting On Passport Proposal
Schumer: Now Is The Time To Roll Up Our Sleeves, Devise A Solution That Secures The Border and Protects Commerce
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today he is asking officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State to visit to New York’s North Country to brainstorm options for required documentation for travel at the U.S.-Canada border. On September 1st, the Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) initiated a public comment period on proposed plan to be implemented as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and Schumer has been working with local community and business leaders to flesh-out an alternative that both secures the border and protects commerce.
“We know that requiring passports could cripple the economy in upstate New York,” Schumer said. “So we need to think of a plan that both secures the border but also protects commerce. The Feds are asking for suggestions, so now is time for them to come to New York and hear directly from those would be impacted by this proposal.”
On September 1st, the Departments of State (DOS) and Homeland Security (DHS) initiated a public comment period on proposed plan to be implemented as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will require all travelers, including U.S. citizens, to and from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to have a passport or other accepted document that establishes the bearer’s identity and nationality to enter or re-enter the United States. If implemented, this proposal would require anyone crossing the U.S.-Canada border to show a passport or other accepted documentation, including SENTRI, NEXUS and FAST program cards. The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State are accepting public comment on this proposal. The public comment period ends October 31, 2005.
At Schumer’s urging, the Departments of Homeland Security and State are also working to determine acceptable alternative documents other than a passport. Senator Schumer has asked the federal agencies for a solution that both protects and secures the border and cross-border commerce.
Earlier this month, Schumer launched a webpage to facilitate New Yorkers wishing to comment on the proposed Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Linked from Schumer’s homepage, www.schumer.senate.gov, the website enables New Yorkers to participate in the public comment period, currently underway through the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State.