Travel Industry Association Has Misgivings Over New
Homeland Security Plan to Phase in Cross Border
Travel by Land and Sea
WASHINGTON, DC (June 20, 2007) — The head of the travel industry association
expressed misgivings over plans released today for the government to phase-in
implementation of new ID requirements for persons arriving in the U.S.
by land and sea beginning in January.
The Department of Homeland Security today said that beginning January
31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens will need to present either a passport
or government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, plus proof of
citizenship, such as a birth certificate, when entering the U.S.
Children under 16 years of age would be required to present certified copies
of their birth certificates.
At a date still to be determined, DHS would begin implementing full
requirements of the land and sea phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel
Initiative, which mandates that all persons entering the U.S. be required
to show a passport or authorized travel documents. Government officials
said they expect full implementation to be in the summer of 2008, though
Congress has required that it be implemented only by June 2009. Both
the Senate and House recently passed legislation requiring that the new
rules be implemented no earlier than the June 2009 date.
“We’ve already seen the confusion created over the passport requirements
for persons traveling by air, and this two-tiered approach for land and
sea will only make things more confusing for travelers,” said Roger Dow,
President and Chief Executive Officer of the Travel Industry Association.
“We support efforts to improve our security, but are wary of our government’s
ability to communicate and implement multiple phases in a manner that works
for those who will be affected.
“Our government does not have a track record of getting it right the
first time when it comes to WHTI. We think it would be most prudent
for the Departments of State and Homeland Security to show they have met
all of the Congressional mandates before announcing any plans to go forward
with what they announced today.”
New requirements for having passports to enter the U.S. on airplanes
began in January. The increased number of applications for passports
inundated the State Department and caused the processing time to balloon
from three weeks a year ago to up to three months presently. The
State Department recently announced that through September 30 it will temporarily
allow American air passengers to re-enter the U.S. if they have a government-issued
photo ID and proof that they have applied for a passport.
The Travel Business Roundtable (TBR), a strategic partner to the Travel
Industry Association, is a CEO-based organization representing all sectors
of the travel and tourism industry. TBR’s mission is to educate public
officials and policymakers about the important social and economic contributions
of the travel and tourism industry. For more information, visit www.tbr.org.
The Travel Industry Association is the national, non-profit organization
representing all components of the $700 billion travel industry. TIA's
mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the