Jan 26 2008

Closing the noose on the USA

A pop quiz for US citizens:

The next time you want to leave the USA. will your government let you go? When you want to come back, will they allow you to come home?

Unless people assert their rights, maybe not. And you’ll need the government to give you papers or permission to do so.

The Department of Homeland Security has already issued regulations effective February 18th that will forbid international airlines from letting anyone on a plane to or from the US without individualized express prior permission from the DHS. Those rules were issued in spite of our objections that they violate the US Constitution international human rights treaties.

And already the Department of Homeland Security is trying to enforce an illegal regulation that purports to require passports (issued at the “discretion” and for the “convenience” of the government, not as a matter of right, and which take weeks to obtain if you want to travel on short notice) for citizens to fly between the USA and Canada or Mexico. (Again, having ignored our objections.)

The DHS has proposed to extend that rule to those crossing the land borders with Canada and Mexico, closing the last possible means of leaving the USA, or returning home from abroad, without DHS papers or permission.

Now, without even considering our objections or any others, the DHS has announced a change in “internal” procedures that would achieve essentially the same result as the “pending” rulemaking: Effective January 31st, the goons from the DHS Customs and Border Protection division will be instructed not to permit anyone to cross the US border — even US citizens — unless they present government-issued documents proving their citizenship to their satisfaction.

The burden will be on you to “prove” your right to travel, rather than on the government to prove you are doing something wrong if they want to prevent you. And only government-issued documents will suffice. If the government won’t give you papers, you can neither leave nor return to your own country.