U.S. To Tighten Border Controls in 2008

The U.S. government is going to start checking passports at our two largest borders in 2008, a mere eight years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

U.S. to Tighten Border Controls by 2008 (AP)

Americans will need passports to re-enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, Panama and Bermuda by 2008, part of a tightening of U.S. border controls in an era of terrorist threat, three administration officials said Tuesday.

Similarly, Canadians will also have to present a passport to enter the United States, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Canadians have been the only foreigners allowed to enter the United States with just a driver’s license.

An announcement, expected later Tuesday at the State Department, will specify that a passport or another valid travel document will have to be shown by U.S.
citizens, the officials said.

Either these measures are long overdue or they are a waste of time. If the former, waiting until 2008 is ridiculous. If the latter, let’s just skip them.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. dw says:

    As someone who lives next to the Canadian border, I wonder why requiring Americans to have passports is all that justified. I can think of one reason (no national ID card), but even then it seems pointless and useless.

    I can’t decide if this is pointless or part of some move towards a Communist attitude towards travel — that you must at the least show positive ID to leave your house, at the most have a valid, government approved reason to be out of your house or town.

    We’re a long, long, long way away from that… but it’s still kinda scary.

  2. Maggie says:

    Hopefully, dw, the government will set up different lanes for those entering the country. If you have an American passport, you use one set of lanes. Those with questionable “papers” that need closer scrutiny would use other lanes with border guards who are fully trained to recognize forgeries.

  3. DC Loser says:

    From the usenet travel newsgroups reports, the US immigration agents at the border posts have required proof of residency since 9/11, which means either a passport or a birth certificate or green card. A driver’s license is no longer valid for that crossing. What this action really begs is some kind of national ID which can substitute for the passport. The passport application process is cumbersome and expensive, and most Americans don’t really want or need one.

  4. Jay says:

    I’ve never had to show a license or other ID to go to and from Canada, even since 9/11, and it hasn’t been especially more tedious since then at the locations I have used.

    The most stringent questioning I ever got was when my Sentra was new (to me), probably about 1995 or 1996, because it had such a fresh paint job after being repaired from a total for sale to me. Apparently there had been issues with people taking hot cars between the countries, or some such (this was going back into the US from Quebec to Vermont).

    I’m annoyed that I will have to get a passport for the few times a year I go to Canada. My father will love it too. He lives a couple miles from the border and averages probably weekly jaunts there.

  5. LJD says:

    Sure more bureaucracy (in about three years). That’s worked well for us in the past.

    I think what they’re doing in Arizona is great- and it’s working. Sure, the illegals are just bypasing to the East and West, but what if our entire border was secured in such a way?