Rejecting the objections raised in comments by the Identity Project and others, the DHS Bureau of Customs and Border Protection has ordered that all travelers between the USA and Canada, Mexico, or other countries in the Western Hemisphere, where passports weren’t previously required, will have to present current valid passports to enter or leave the USA by air or sea, effective January 23, 2007.
“Your papers, please!”
Orders applying the same requirement to travel by land across the U.S. borders will follow, no later than June 1, 2009.
In issuing its final rule and an updated (but still grossly inaccurate) assessment for the “Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative”, the CBP summarily dismissed all of our objections based on international treaties and human rights laws protecting the freedom to travel:
One commenter stated that the NPRM [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking] is contrary to U.S. obligations under international human rights law, free trade agreements, and U.S. statutes, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Charter of the Organization of American States, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the NAFTA Implementation Act, because the rules restrict free movement of people in the Western Hemisphere.
By requiring a valid passport as an entry document, DHS and DOS are not denying U.S. or non-U.S. citizens the ability to travel to and from the United States.
So I guess they mean that as long as they give us permission to travel, they can impose whatever restrictions they feel like on how, when, or where we are allowed to travel, or what papers we need to show them in order to get their permission?