WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., is endorsing the Department of Homeland Security’s intention to begin requiring proof of citizenship and identity for all travelers crossing land and sea borders into this country.
The Department has announced that, as of January 31, 2008, it will require a birth certificate and a government-issued form of identification from U.S., Canadian, and Bermudan citizens crossing the Mexican or Canadian borders or arriving by sea. Current policy allows Customs and Border Protection officers to accept an oral declaration that a traveler is a U.S., Canadian, or Bermudan citizen.
“DHS’ new policy will help close a loophole in our travel system that is vulnerable to exploitation by those who would do us harm,” Lieberman said. “Requiring travelers entering into the U.S. to prove their identity and citizenship is a sensible policy change that should be implemented with urgency. This may initially inconvenience some travelers, especially those who live in border communities and cross back and forth on a daily basis. To assist them, DHS must ensure that the new requirements are communicated clearly and in a way that eases the burden for travelers without sacrificing security. However, DHS was established to help make Americans safer, and this new policy is designed to do exactly that.”