Jury Still Out on Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

April 16, 2008 12:00 am

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Movement in states rejecting additional ID requirements

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WASHINGTON – Today, the Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing regarding the repeatedly delayed implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). WHTI would require all travelers, including American citizens, to have a passport or other “appropriate security documentation” to enter or re-enter the United States from countries within the Western Hemisphere, including Canada and Mexico.

The following can be attributed to Timothy Sparapani, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel:

“The superfluous layers of security that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative creates do not make America more secure; they instead subject American citizens to unnecessary bureaucratic processes that infringe on personal privacy under the guise of border security. The Department of Homeland Security’s continuing failure to address the privacy concerns raised by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative should extinguish any hope of future implementation.

“Not willing to compromise state sovereignty and individual privacy, states and the public-at-large have rejected redundant new identification systems like WHTI. Congress should heed the strong objections being voiced by constituents and put a halt to this dangerous and completely unnecessary program.”

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