|Congressman Higgins Votes to Delay Passport Requirement|
|June 15, 2007|
Washington, D.C.- Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-27) today voted to approve sweeping legislation to protect America and invest in homeland security, including two provisions that will delay implementation of the passport requirement for travel at land-border crossings between the Unites States and Canada.
“It is my hope and expectation that the clear rejection of the passport requirement this House adopted today will send a message to the White House, Department of State and Department of Homeland Security that we expect them to reconsider and revise this ill-conceived and dangerous proposal,” Higgins said.
The first provision, authored by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), will delay implementation of the passport requirement until a pilot program has been completed to determine if an enhanced driver’s license may offer the same security as a passport with a far lesser impact to border communities. A second provision will delay implementation of the passport requirement until June 2009.
“This bill reflects the concern that my Northern Border colleagues and I have been expressing for some time: that requiring a passport for travel at northern border land crossings is unworkable, unnecessary, and destructive to our communities,” said Higgins.
Additionally, the 2008 Homeland Security Appropriations bill:
- Includes funding for 3,000 additional Border Patrol agents, bringing the number of Border Patrol agents to 17,819.
- Rejects the President’s proposed $1 billion cut for training and equipment for first responders and instead expands support for local law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders.
- Invests in port security by significantly increasing funding to protect critical port facilities and infrastructure.
- Improves aviation security by providing funding for new explosive detection systems at airports and funding to double the amount of cargo screened on passenger aircraft