skip to main content

H.R. 1061 (110th): Protecting American Commerce and Travel Act of 2007


The text of the bill below is as of Feb 14, 2007 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


I

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1061

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 14, 2007

(for herself, Mr. McHugh, Mr. Peterson of Minnesota, and Mr. Manzullo) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security, and in addition to the Committees on Foreign Affairs 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 2007.

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.

Pilot program for land and sea international travel and report on existing documentation requirements

(a)

Pilot program

(1)

In general

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall enter into an agreement with at least one eligible State to conduct a pilot program to determine if the driver’s license of such State may satisfy the minimum document requirements and issuance standards for a State driver’s licence as sufficient to denote identity and citizenship for all travel into the United States by United States citizens in order to may be enhanced so as to satisfy the requirements 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) with respect to land and sea travel only.

(2)

Air travel excluded

The pilot program described in paragraph (1) may not include air travel.

(3)

Voluntary individual participation

(A)

In general

Participation in the pilot program described in paragraph (1) by a citizen of the eligible State shall be voluntary.

(B)

Extra cost

If a citizen of the eligible State wishes to participate in the pilot program, such citizen may be required to pay an additional reasonable fee to be determined by such State for a driver’s license that satisfies the requirements referred to in paragraph (1).

(4)

Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in the pilot program under this subsection, a State shall submit to the Secretary of Homeland Security an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(5)

Extension

The Secretary of Homeland Security may extend the pilot program to include at least one Province of Canada.

(b)

Report

Not later than one year after the initiation of the pilot program described in subsection (a), the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 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 license that satisfies the requirements referred in subsection (a)(1).

(c)

Review by Government Accountability Office

Not later than 45 days after submission of the report required under subsection (b), the Comptroller General of the United States shall review the report and submit an audit of the report to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.

(d)

Prohibition regarding timing of issuance of Final Rule

The Secretary of Homeland Security may not publish in the Federal Register a Final Rule with respect to the issuance of identification cards, such as State driver’s licenses pursuant to the pilot program conducted under subsection (a), passport cards issued under section 4(b), and the expedited traveler programs of the Department of Homeland Security, such as NEXUS, NEXUS AIR, SENTRI, FAST, and Registered Traveler, that satisfy the requirements of section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 until such pilot program has been completed.

4.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

(a)

Travel to Canada and Mexico

Section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

(3)

Process for United States citizens lacking required documents

In order to address spontaneous travel, 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 or maritime border of the United States. The process referred to in this paragraph shall terminate on the date that is 180 days after the date of the implementation of the plan described in paragraph (1)(A).

(4)

Special rule for certain minors and seniors

Except as provided in paragraph (5), citizens of the United States or Canada who are less than 17 years or more than 65 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 or traveling to the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the Carribean at any port of entry along the international land or maritime border of the United States.

(5)

Special rule for certain student minors traveling as part of an authorized and supervised school trip

Notwithstanding the special rule described in paragraph (4), the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is authorized to consider expanding the special rule for certain minors described in such paragraph to a citizen of the United States or Canada who is less than 19 years of age but is 17 years of age or older and who is traveling between the United States and Canada at any port of entry along the international or maritime border between the two countries if such citizen is so traveling as a student as part of an authorized and supervised school trip.

.

(b)

Issuance by Department of State of passport 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 passport card. The Secretary of State may refer to a passport card by any name the Secretary determines appropriate.

(2)

Applicability

A passport 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 passport 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 passport card to only international land and sea travel. If the Secretary does so limit the use of a passport card, the Secretary shall, not later than 45 days after so limiting such use, submit to Congress a report explaining why the passport card is so limited.

(4)

Application for issuance

To be issued a passport 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.

(5)

Fee

(A)

Limitation on fee

An applicant for a passport 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. Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), such fee shall not exceed $20 (representing the total of the execution fee attributable to authorized acceptance agents and the adjudication fee attributable to the Department of State), and the Secretary shall seek to keep such fee as low as possible, based on the cost of service.

(B)

Period of validity of fee

The period of validity of the $20 fee referred to in subparagraph (A) shall terminate on the date that is one year after the date of the initial issuance of such passport cards.

(C)

Time for delivery of passport card

The Secretary shall ensure that, not later than ten business days after receipt of an application for a passport card, such passport card is mailed to the United States citizen who submitted such an application.

(6)

Expedited traveler programs

The passport 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.

(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 passport card.

(c)

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 passport 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.

(d)

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 June 1, 2009, or the date that is 60 days after the date of the issuance of the Final Rule under section 3(d), whichever is earlier, appropriate documentation to allow such citizens and nationals to cross into the United States.

(e)

Public outreach

To promote travel and trade across the United States border, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State 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 use of a State driver’s license pursuant to the pilot program conducted under section 3(a), the passport card program, and the expedited traveler programs of the Department of Homeland Security. The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State shall coordinate with representatives of the travel and trade industries in the development of such public communications plan. Such public communications plan shall include placed advertisements in major media outlets in both the United States and Canada.

(f)

Accessibility

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

(g)

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 , passport card, after passport;

(B)

in section 4 (22 U.S.C. 2671)—

(i)

in subsection (b)(2)(I), by inserting , passport cards, after passports; and

(ii)

in subsection (d)(3), by inserting or passport cards after passports;

(C)

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

(D)

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

(E)

in section 42 (22 U.S.C. 2714)—

(i)

in subsection (a)—

(I)

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

(II)

in paragraph (2)—

(aa)

in the heading, by inserting and passport card after passport; and

(bb)

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

(ii)

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

(F)

in section 49 (22 U.S.C. 2721)—

(i)

in the heading, by inserting and passport cards after passports; and

(ii)

by inserting or passport 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 passport card that is valid for travel only through land and maritime 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 passport card, if appropriate after passport; and

(ii)

in subsection (f), by inserting passport cards (if appropriate), after Passports,;

(B)

in section 231(c)(5) (8 U.S.C. 1221(c)(5)), by inserting or passport 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 passport card after passport; and

(D)

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

(h)

Reports

The Secretary of State shall, on a quarterly basis during the first year of issuance of passport cards and on an annual basis thereafter, submit to Congress a report containing information relating to the number of passport 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 in an amount that is as inexpensive as possible per card issued for each of such programs. The fee for the first renewal for participation in each such program shall be waived. The Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report that explains the reasons for the fee that is established.

(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

(a)

Cost-benefit analysis

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall, in accordance with subsection (b), 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 identification cards, including, if appropriate, State driver’s licenses pursuant to the pilot program conducted under section 3(a), passport cards issued under section 4(b), and the expedited traveler programs of the Department of Homeland Security, such as NEXUS, NEXUS AIR, SENTRI, FAST, and Registered Traveler, as documents sufficient on their own when produced to denote identity and citizenship for travel into the United States.

(b)

Information regarding analysis

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.

(c)

Time for publication

The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register the results of the analysis together with the Final Rule implementing section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, including 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.