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H.R. 5536 (109th): Protecting American Commerce and Travel Act of 2006


The text of the bill below is as of Jun 6, 2006 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


I

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5536

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 6, 2006

(for herself and Mr. McHugh) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, and in addition to the Committees on International Relations and Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To implement the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and other registered traveler programs of the Department of Homeland Security.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Protecting American Commerce and Travel Act of 2006.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Approximately 23 million United States citizens annually cross the northern or southern border.

(2)

Twenty-seven percent of United States citizens and 40 percent of Canadian citizens possess a valid passport.

(3)

Canada is the United States largest trading partner, with an average of $1.1 billion in goods crossing the United States-Canada border every day.

(4)

In 2004, Canadians made 14 million visits to the United States and spent $10.3 billion in the United States.

3.

Report on existing documentation requirements

(a)

In general

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State shall jointly submit to the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate a report examining the feasibility, method, cost, and time period of implementation, cost and security advantages, if any, and the impact on cross-border traffic of using a State driver’s licence that satisfies the minimum document requirements and issuance standards for a State driver’s licence under section 202 of the REAL ID Act of 2005 as sufficient to denote identity and citizenship, for all travel into the United States by United States citizens in order to satisfy the requirement of section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–458) (commonly referred to as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative).

(b)

Review of study by Government Accountability Office

Not later than 120 days after submission of the report required under subsection (a), the Comptroller General of the United States shall review the report and submit an audit of the report to the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate.

4.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

(a)

Extension of deadline for implementation

Subsection (b)(1) of section 7209 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 is amended—

(1)

in the first sentence, by inserting on its own when produced after sufficient; and

(2)

in the second sentence, by striking January 1, 2008 and inserting September 15, 2009.

(b)

Prohibition on implementation of tiered approach

Subsection (b)(2) of section 7209 of such Act is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: The plan developed under paragraph (1) shall require the implementation at the same time of the documentation requirements described in such paragraph for all international travel, regardless of whether such travel is by air, sea, or land..

(c)

Travel to Canada and Mexico

Section 7209(b) of such Act is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

(3)

Process for United States citizens lacking required documents

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall establish a process to permit a citizen of the United States who does not possess a passport or other document, or combination of documents, as required under paragraph (1), to re-enter the United States at an international land border of the United States.

(4)

Special rule for certain minors

United States citizens who are less than 16 years of age shall not be required to present to an immigration officer a passport or other document, or combination of documents, as required under paragraph (1), when returning to the United States from Canada at any port of entry along the international land border between the United States and Canada.

.

(d)

Issuance by Department of State of North American travel cards

(1)

In general

In accordance with section 7209 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall issue to United States citizens who submit an application in accordance with paragraph (4) a travel document that will serve as a North American travel card. The Secretary of State may refer to a North American travel card by any name the Secretary determines appropriate.

(2)

Applicability

A North American travel card shall be deemed to be a United States passport for the purpose of United States laws and regulations relating to United States passports.

(3)

Use and limitation

A North American travel card may be used for the purpose of facilitating international travel by United States citizens in accordance with section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The Secretary of State may limit the use of a North American travel card to only international air travel. If the Secretary does so limit the use of a North American travel card, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report explaining why the North American travel card is so limited.

(4)

Application for issuance

(A)

In general

To be issued a North American travel card, a United States citizen shall submit an application to the Secretary of State. Such application shall contain the same information as is required by the Secretary to determine citizenship, identity, and eligibility for issuance of a United States passport.

(B)

Acceptance of applications

The Secretary of State may begin accepting applications for North American travel cards beginning on the date that is one year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(C)

Rapid issuance

Not later than ten business days after receipt of an application (including any applicable fees) from a United States citizen for a North American travel card, the Secretary of State shall provide such citizen with such card.

(5)

Expedited traveler programs

The North American travel card shall be designed and produced so as to provide a platform on which the expedited traveler programs of the Department of Homeland Security, such as NEXUS, NEXUS AIR, SENTRI, FAST, and Registered Traveler can be added.

(6)

Fee

Except as in provided in paragraph (8), an applicant for a North American travel card shall submit an application under paragraph (4) together with a single nonrefundable fee in an amount to be determined by the Secretary of State. Fees for a North American travel card shall be deposited as an offsetting collection to the appropriate Department of State appropriation, to remain available until expended. Such fee shall not exceed $20, and the Secretary shall seek to keep such fee as low as possible, based on the cost of service.

(7)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this Act shall be construed as limiting, altering, modifying, or otherwise affecting the validity of a United States passport. A United States citizen may possess a United States passport and a North American travel card.

(8)

Expedited processing

The Secretary of State shall seek to expedite the speed with which North American travel cards are issued in response to citizens’ applications by whatever means possible in order to support spontaneous travel between border communities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

(e)

Travel document for travel into United States

For purposes of the plan required under section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, a North American travel card issued under this section shall be considered a document sufficient on its own when produced to denote identity and citizenship for travel into the United States by United States citizens.

(f)

Foreign cooperation

In order to maintain and encourage cross-border travel and trade, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall use all possible means to coordinate with the appropriate representatives of foreign governments to ensure that their citizens and nationals possess, not later than September 15, 2009, appropriate documentation to allow such citizens and nationals to cross into the United States.

(g)

Public promotion

To promote travel and trade across the United States border, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall develop a public communications plan to promote to United States citizens, representatives of the travel and trade industries, and local government officials information relating to the North American travel card program and the expedited traveler programs of the Department of Homeland Security.

(h)

Private collaboration

Not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to Congress a report on their efforts to solicit policy suggestions from the private sector concerning implementation of section 7209 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. This report should include the private sector’s recommendations concerning how air, sea, and land travel between countries in the Western Hemisphere can be improved while enhancing security.

(i)

Accessibility

In order to make the North American travel card easily obtainable, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall accept applications for the card at all NEXUS and FAST enrollment centers.

(j)

Equipment at the borders

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that, not later than September 15, 2009, all land border ports of entry along the international land border of the United States and Canada and the United States and Mexico are equipped with the appropriate technology to read a North American travel card.

(k)

Statutory authority

(1)

State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956

The State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 is amended—

(A)

in section 3(m) (22 U.S.C. 2670(m)), by inserting , North American travel card, after passport;

(B)

in section 4 (22 U.S.C. 2671)—

(i)

in subsection (b)(2)(I), by inserting , North American travel cards, after passports; and

(ii)

in subsection (d)(3), by inserting or North American travel cards after passports;

(C)

in section 33(1) (22 U.S.C. 2705(1)), by striking passport, and inserting passport or North American travel card,;

(D)

in section 37(a)(1) (22 U.S.C. 2709(a)(1)), by inserting , North American travel card, after passport;

(E)

in section 42 (22 U.S.C. 2714)—

(i)

in subsection (a)—

(I)

in paragraph (1), by inserting or North American travel card after passport each place such term appears; and

(II)

in paragraph (2)—

(aa)

in the heading, by inserting and North American travel card after passport; and

(bb)

by inserting or North American travel card after passport each place such term appears; and

(ii)

in subsection (d), by striking passport, and inserting passport or North American travel card,; and

(F)

in section 49 (22 U.S.C. 2721)—

(i)

in the heading, by inserting and North American travel cards after passports; and

(ii)

by inserting or North American travel card after passport.

(2)

Act of July 3, 1926

Section 1 of the Act of July 3, 1926 (Chapter 772; 44 Stat. 887; 22 U.S.C. 211a), is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the Secretary from issuing a passport in the form of a North American travel card that is valid for travel only through land border ports of entry between the United States and Canada and the United States and Mexico..

(3)

Immigration and Nationality Act

The Immigration and Nationality Act is amended—

(A)

in section 215 (8 U.S.C. 1185)—

(i)

in subsection (b), by inserting or North American travel card, if appropriate after passport; and

(ii)

in subsection (f), by inserting North American travel cards (if appropriate), after Passports,;

(B)

in section 231(c)(5) (8 U.S.C. 1221(c)(5)), by inserting or North American travel card number, if appropriate before the semicolon;

(C)

in section 241(c)(3)(B)(vi) (8 U.S.C. 1231(c)(3)(B)(vi)), by inserting or North American travel card after passport; and

(D)

in section 274A(b)(1)(B)(i) (8 U.S.C. 1324a(b)(1)(B)(i)), by inserting or North American travel card before the semicolon.

(l)

Reports

The Secretary of State shall, on a quarterly basis during the first year of issuance of North American travel cards and on an annual basis thereafter, submit to Congress a report containing information relating to the number of North American travel cards issued during the immediately preceding quarter or year, as appropriate, and the number of United States citizens in each State applying for such cards.

5.

Improving the NEXUS and FAST registered traveler programs

(a)

Merging requirements of NEXUS and FAST

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall merge the procedures for the programs described in subsection (k) into a single procedure, with common eligibility and security screening requirements, enrollment processes, and sanctions regimes.

(2)

Specific requirements

In carrying out paragraph (1), the Secretary shall ensure that—

(A)

the procedures for the programs known as NEXUS Highway, NEXUS Marine, and NEXUS Air are integrated into such a single procedure; and

(B)

the processes relating to eligibility and security screening are identical to those for the FAST program described in subsection (l)(2) on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(b)

Integrating NEXUS and FAST information systems

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall integrate all databases and information systems for the programs described in subsection (k) in a manner that will permit any identification card issued to a participant to operate in all locations where a program described in such subsection is operating.

(c)

Creation of NEXUS convertible lanes

In order to expand the NEXUS program described in subsection (k)(2) to major northern border crossings, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with appropriate representatives of the Government of Canada, shall equip the following northern border crossings with NEXUS technology:

(1)

Pembina, North Dakota.

(2)

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

(3)

Alexandria Bay, New York.

(4)

Portal, North Dakota.

(5)

Sweet Grass, Montana.

(6)

International Falls, Minnesota.

(d)

Creation of remote enrollment centers

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with appropriate representatives of the Government of Canada, shall create a minimum of six remote enrollment centers for the programs described in subsection (k). Such a remote enrollment center shall be established at each of the border crossings described in subsection (c).

(e)

Creation of mobile enrollment centers

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with appropriate representatives of the Government of Canada, shall create a minimum of four mobile enrollment centers for the programs described in subsection (k). Such mobile enrollment centers shall be used to accept and process applications in areas currently underserved by such programs. The Secretary shall work with State and local authorities in determining the locations of such mobile enrollment centers.

(f)

On-line application process

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall design an on-line application process for the programs described in subsection (k). Such process shall permit individuals to securely submit their applications on-line and schedule a security interview at the nearest enrollment center.

(g)

Promoting enrollment

(1)

Creating incentives for enrollment

In order to encourage applications for the programs described in subsection (k), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall develop a plan to admit participants at a rate that does not exceed $20 per card issued for each of such programs. The fee for the first renewal for participation in each such program shall be waived.

(2)

Customer service phone number

In order to provide potential applicants with timely information for the programs described in subsection (k), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall create a customer service telephone number for such programs.

(3)

Publicity campaign

The Secretary shall carry out a program to educate the public regarding the benefits of the programs described in subsection (k).

(h)

Travel document for travel into United States

For purposes of the plan required under section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, an identification card issued to a participant in a program described in subsection (k) shall be considered a document sufficient on its own when produced to denote identity and citizenship for travel into the United States by United States citizens and by categories of individuals for whom documentation requirements have previously been waived under section 212(d)(4)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(4)(B)).

(i)

Consolidated background check process

(1)

Requirement

The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall establish a single process for conducting the security screening and background checks of individuals participating in any of the programs identified under paragraph (2).

(2)

Included programs

The process established under paragraph (1) shall apply to the following programs:

(A)

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential.

(B)

The security risk determination and related background checks under section 5103a of title 49, United States Code, performed by the Transportation Security Administration as part of the Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Endorsement credentialing program.

(C)

The programs described in subsection (k).

(D)

The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, or SENTRI, program authorized under section 286(q) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(q)).

(E)

The Registered Traveler program of the Transportation Security Administration.

(3)

Features of process

The process established under paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A)

A single submission of security screening information, including personal data and biometric information as appropriate, necessary to meet the security requirements of all applicable departmental programs.

(B)

An ability to submit such security screening information at any location or through any process approved by the Secretary with respect to any of the applicable departmental programs.

(C)

Acceptance by the Department of a security clearance or other credential issued by a Federal agency, to the extent that the security clearance process of the agency satisfies requirements that are at least as stringent as those of the applicable departmental programs under paragraph (2).

(D)

Appropriate standards and procedures for protecting individual privacy, confidentiality, record retention, and addressing other concerns relating to information security.

(4)

Deadlines

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall—

(A)

not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act, submit to the appropriate congressional committees (as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101)) a description of the process developed under this subsection; and

(B)

not later than 12 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, begin implementing such process.

(5)

Inclusion of other programs

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall review other existing or developing Department of Homeland Security programs that include security screening or background checks for participating individuals, and report to the appropriate congressional committees (as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101)) any recommendations for inclusion of such additional programs in the consolidated screening process established under this section.

(6)

Relationship to other laws

Nothing in this subsection affects:

(A)

any statutory or regulatory requirement relating to the operation or standards of the programs described in paragraph (2).

(B)

any statutory requirement relating to title III of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.

(j)

Reports

(1)

Report on implementation

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees (as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101)) a report on the implementation of subsections (a) through (i).

(2)

Report on coordination

Not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees (as defined in section 2 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 101)) a report on the work being performed to streamline and coordinate the following programs:

(A)

The programs described in subsection (k).

(B)

The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection, or SENTRI, program authorized under section 286(q) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(q)).

(C)

The Registered Traveler program of the Transportation Security Administration.

(k)

Programs

The programs described in this subsection are the following:

(1)

The FAST program authorized under subpart B of title IV of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1411 et seq.)

(2)

The NEXUS program authorized under section 286(q) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (U.S.C. 1356(q)).

6.

Cost-benefit analysis of implementation of section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004

(a)

In general

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in accordance with subsection (c), conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the implementation of the requirements of section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 with respect to the issuance and use of North American travel cards and NEXUS and FAST identification cards as documents sufficient on their own when produced to denote identity and citizenship for travel into the United States.

(b)

Publication

(1)

Results of analysis and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register the results of the analysis required under subsection (a), together with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of the Department of Homeland Security with respect to the issuance of North American travel cards and NEXUS and FAST identification cards as satisfying the requirements of section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (commonly referred to as the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative).

(2)

Time for publication

The Secretary may not publish in the Federal Register the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking referred to in paragraph (1) until the report required under section 3(a) has been submitted to the committees specified in subsection (a) of such section.

(c)

Program

The Secretary shall conduct the analysis required under subsection (a) in accordance with the requirements for a significant regulatory action as set forth and defined in Executive Order 12866 (issued on September 30, 1993; published in the Federal Register on October 4, 1993). Such analysis shall include the following information:

(1)

An assessment, including the underlying analysis, of benefits anticipated from the regulatory action (such as the promotion of the efficient functioning of the economic and private markets, the enhancement of health and safety, the protection of the natural environment, and the elimination or reduction of discrimination or bias) together with, to the extent feasible, a quantification of those benefits.

(2)

An assessment, including the underlying analysis, of costs anticipated from the regulatory action (such as the direct cost both to the United States Government in administering the regulation and to businesses and others in complying with the regulation, and any adverse effects on the efficient functioning of the economy, private markets (including productivity, employment, and competitiveness), health, safety, and the natural environment), together with, to the extent feasible, a quantification of those costs.

(3)

An assessment, including the underlying analysis, of costs and benefits of potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives to the planned regulation, identified by the agencies or the public (including improving the current regulation and reasonably viable nonregulatory actions), and an explanation why the planned regulatory action is preferable to potential alternatives.

(d)

Subsequent publication

The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register after publication of the analysis and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking under subsection (b) information that—

(1)

identifies for the public, in a complete, clear, and simple manner, the substantive changes between the draft of the proposed regulatory action submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of the Office of Management and Budget for review and the action subsequently announced; and

(2)

identifies for the public those changes in the regulatory action that were made at the suggestion or recommendation of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.