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Schumer Joins Rochester Business Leaders To Discuss Alternatives To Passport Rule That Take Into Account Security And Fast Ferry

President Has Said He Is Open To New Ideas; Schumer Will Bring Ideas Back to President During Public Comment Period and Advocate for Upstate New York Businesses, Fast Ferry
New Citizenship and Immigration Services Proposal Would Require Passports at US-Canada Border

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today joined Rochester business leaders to discuss the local impact of a new proposal to require passports at the USCanada border. Speaking with Fast Ferry officials, Schumer detailed the importance of securing our border, and heard from community leaders concerned with the economic impact of requiring passports to travel to or from Canada and the US. Schumer specifically addressed how progress with the Fast Ferry could be impacted if new proposal is approved as it currently stands.

This plan was poorly thought out and showed no understanding of how the border works in New York, where people cross it all the time for work, shopping, and leisure, Schumer said. The President is giving it a second look, which is a good first step. I have already raised this issue with top officials at the Department of Homeland Security and will bring back all of these ideas discussed today so that we can have both security and efficient commerce. We are so close to restoring service to the Fast Ferry we cannot allow this new rule to impose another hurdle

Schumer today emphasized that national security is always his top priority, but that the federal government must protect the homeland without crippling crossborder commerce or the travel and tourism industry. A final plan must address the concerns of businesses leaders and the law enforcement community in Western New York, where the economy is dependent upon Canadian trade and commerce. According to the Canadian Consulate, Canada is New Yorks largest trading partner and Canada trade is related to 348,000 jobs in New York State.

On April 5, 2005, the Departments of State and Homeland Security announced a proposed rule that would require all U.S. and Canadian citizens to have a passport or other accepted secure document to enter or reenter the U.S. by January 1, 2008. The proposal refers to passports as the preferred document of choice. Following a sixtyday public comment period, a formal rule will be issued.