I've mentioned some of this before, like the Real ID Act, tacked onto legislation to provide relief funding for victims of the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia. The law mandates every citizen in the U.S. must have this new ID if they wish to open a bank account, travel on an airline, collect social security, enter a federal building, utilize any Federal service, get a job and more. And like Russ McBee has written, this law needs to be repealed.
Over the weekend, I learned about another new law, which I had never heard about, enacted under the title "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative." Under this law, American citizens who travel to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, or take cruises to the Caribbean must now have passports to return to the U.S. As of next year, says the law, if you drive or walk into Mexico or Canada, you'll have to have a passport to return.
But this past weekend, the massive backlog of those Americans who seek such passports for travel is so large, the law has been put on hold for a few months until the State Dept. can hire hundreds of new employees to process applications. However:
"This summer also may not spell the end of the passport crunch.
Homeland Security has insisted it plans to go ahead with a January 2008 start for requiring passports at all land border crossing in the United States — a security measure that could trigger a new frenzy of applications."
UPDATE: The state legislature has voted to reject the Real ID Act and calls for federal officials to repeal it.