Sep 21 2010

ESTA fees: the whole is worse than the sum of its parts

New U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations took effect this month that combine two bad ideas — fees to encourage foreigners to visit the US by charging them more to do so, and fees for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) — in a way that creates new possibilities for travel surveillance and […]

Feb 09 2009

Exit permits, ESTA, APIS, and asylum seekers

According to a recently-released European Commission staff working document, the U.S. Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is not “tantamount to the … visa … process” required for admission to the European “Schengen Zone”, and therefore does not give cause for the imposition of reciprocal visa requirements for US citizens seeking to enter Schengen countries. […]

Dec 12 2018

The Department of “Mother, May I?”

Have all travelers become convicted criminals subject to court supervision, who have to apply in advance for permission from the government every time they want to travel? And does the US government have extraterritorial jurisdiction over travel worldwide? Apparently so, at least in the eyes of the Department of Homeland Security. Case in point: The […]

Nov 21 2018

REAL-ID database still lacks basic protections

There is still no way to find out whether there’s a record about yourself in the national REAL-ID database, or what information that record contains, or to correct it. This has been recognized as a priority by the state officials who indirectly “govern” the contractors who operate the database. But years have passed, and nothing […]

Sep 04 2018

The US State Department is still denying passports to US citizens

A report in the Washington Post last week has brought renewed attention to the US State Department’s ongoing denial of passports to many US citizens. The Washington Post story focuses on Mexican-Americans whose passports have been revoked or whose applications for new or renewal passports have been officially or effectively denied, and suggests that, “under […]

Aug 31 2018

A broader legal challenge to Federal blacklists

1. The federal government has imposed a kind of second-class citizenship on the Plaintiffs. Without charges, without arrests, without even an investigation sometimes — the agency defendants act in concert to deprive thousands of innocent Americans, mostly Muslim, of their right to be free from a government that extrajudicially designates them as worthy of permanent […]

Jun 08 2018

“Governance” of the REAL-ID database

We’ve been trying for years to find out who is really in charge of the national ID database being created to enable states that choose to do so to comply with the  Federal REAL-ID Act of 2005. The national ID records system includes the SPEXS database and the S2S data network and system of central-site […]