< Back to S. 35 (110th Congress, 2007–2009)

Text of the Western Hemisphere Traveler Improvement Act of 2007

This bill was introduced on May 22, 2007, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of May 22, 2007 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

II

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 35

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 22, 2007

(for himself and Ms. Collins) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

A BILL

To amend section 7209 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Western Hemisphere Traveler Improvement Act of 2007.

2.

Certifications

Section 7209(b)(1) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (8 U.S.C. 1185 note) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (B)—

(A)

in clause (v)—

(i)

by striking process and inserting read; and

(ii)

inserting at all ports of entry after installed;

(B)

in clause (vi), by striking and at the end;

(C)

in clause (vii), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(viii)

a pilot program in which not fewer than 1 State has been initiated and evaluated to determine if an enhanced driver’s license, which is machine-readable and tamper-proof, not valid for certification of citizenship for any purpose other than admission into the United States from Canada, and issued by such State to an individual, may permit the individual to use the individual's driver’s license to meet the documentation requirements under subparagraph (A) for entry into the United States from Canada at the land and sea ports of entry;

(ix)

the report described in subparagraph (C) has been submitted to the appropriate congressional committees;

(x)

a study has been conducted to determine the number of passports and passport cards that will be issued as a consequence of the documentation requirements under subparagraph (A); and

(xi)

sufficient passport adjudication personnel have been hired or contracted—

(I)

to accommodate—

(aa)

increased demand for passports as a consequence of the documentation requirements under subparagraph (A); and

(bb)

a surge in such demand during seasonal peak travel times; and

(II)

to ensure that the time required to issue a passport or passport card is not anticipated to exceed 8 weeks.

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(C)

Report

Not later than 180 days after the initiation of the pilot program described in subparagraph (B)(viii), the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report, which includes—

(i)

an analysis of the impact of the pilot program on national security;

(ii)

recommendations on how to expand the pilot program to other States;

(iii)

any appropriate statutory changes to facilitate the expansion of the pilot program to additional States and to citizens of Canada;

(iv)

a plan to scan individuals participating in the pilot program against United States terrorist watch lists;

(v)

an evaluation of and recommendations for the type of machine-readable technology that should be used in enhanced driver’s licenses, based on individual privacy considerations and the costs and feasibility of incorporating any new technology into existing driver’s licenses;

(vi)

recommendations for improving the pilot program; and

(vii)

an analysis of any cost savings for a citizen of the United States participating in an enhanced driver's license program as compared with participating in an alternative program.

.

3.

Special rule for minors

Section 7209(b) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–458; 8 U.S.C. 1185 note) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(3)

Special rule for minors

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall permit an individual to enter the United States without providing any evidence of citizenship if the individual—

(A)
(i)

is less than 16 years old;

(ii)

is accompanied by the individual’s legal guardian;

(iii)

is entering the United States from Canada or Mexico;

(iv)

is a citizen of the United States or Canada; and

(v)

provides a birth certificate; or

(B)
(i)

is less than 18 years old;

(ii)

is traveling under adult supervision with a public or private school group, religious group, social or cultural organization, or team associated with a youth athletics organization; and

(iii)

provides a birth certificate.

.

4.

Travel facilitation initiatives

Section 7209 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108–458; 8 U.S.C. 1185 note) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsections:

(e)

State Driver's License and Identification Card Enrollment Program

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law and not later than 180 days after the submission of the report described in subsection (b)(1)(C), the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall issue regulations to establish a State Driver's License and Identity Card Enrollment Program as described in this subsection (hereinafter in this subsection referred to as the Program) and which allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to enter into a memorandum of understanding with an appropriate official of each State that elects to participate in the Program.

(2)

Purpose

The purpose of the Program is to permit a citizen of the United States who produces a driver’s license or identity card that meets the requirements of paragraph (3) or a citizen of Canada who produces a document described in paragraph (4) to enter the United States from Canada by land or sea without providing any other documentation or evidence of citizenship.

(3)

Admission of citizens of the United States

A driver's license or identity card meets the requirements of this paragraph if—

(A)

the license or card—

(i)

was issued by a State that is participating in the Program; and

(ii)

is tamper-proof and machine readable; and

(B)

the State that issued the license or card—

(i)

has a mechanism to verify the United States citizenship status of an applicant for such a license or card;

(ii)

does not require an individual to include the individual’s citizenship status on such a license or card; and

(iii)

manages all information regarding an applicant's United States citizenship status in the same manner as such information collected through the United States passport application process and prohibits any other use or distribution of such information.

(4)

Admission of citizens of Canada

(A)

In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security determine that an identity document issued by the Government of Canada or by the Government of a Province or Territory of Canada meets security and information requirements comparable to the requirements for a driver's license or identity card described in paragraph (3), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall permit a citizen of Canada to enter the United States from Canada using such a document without providing any other documentation or evidence of Canadian citizenship.

(B)

Technology standards

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall work, to the maximum extent possible, to ensure that an identification document issued by Canada that permits entry into the United States under subparagraph (A) utilizes technology similar to the technology utilized by identification documents issued by the United States or any State.

(5)

Authority to expand

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security may expand the Program to permit an individual to enter the United States—

(A)

from a country other than Canada; or

(B)

using evidence of citizenship other than a driver's license or identity card described in paragraph (3) or a document described in paragraph (4).

(6)

Relationship to other requirements

Nothing in this subsection shall have the effect of creating a national identity card or a certification of citizenship for any purpose other than admission into the United States as described in this subsection.

(7)

State defined

In this subsection, the term State means any of the several States of the United States, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, or any other territory or possession of the United States.

(f)

Waiver for intrastate travel

The Secretary of Homeland Security shall accept a birth certificate as proof of citizenship for any United States citizen who is traveling directly from one part of a State to a noncontiguous part of that State through Canada, if such citizen cannot travel by land to such part of the State without traveling through Canada, and such travel in Canada is limited to no more than 2 hours.

(g)

Waiver of Pass Card and passport execution fees

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, during the 2-year period beginning on the date on which the Secretary of Homeland Security publishes a final rule in the Federal Register to carry out subsection (b), the Secretary of State shall—

(A)

designate 1 facility in each city or port of entry designated under paragraph (2), including a State Department of Motor Vehicles facility located in such city or port of entry if the Secretary determines appropriate, in which a passport or passport card may be procured without an execution fee during such period; and

(B)

develop not fewer than 6 mobile enrollment teams that—

(i)

are able to issue passports or other identity documents issued by the Secretary of State without an execution fee during such period;

(ii)

are operated along the northern and southern borders of the United States; and

(iii)

focus on providing passports and other such documents to citizens of the United States who live in areas of the United States that are near such an international border and that have relatively low population density.

(2)

Designation of cities and ports of entry

The Secretary of State shall designate cities and ports of entry for purposes of paragraph (1)(A) as follows:

(A)

The Secretary shall designate not fewer than 3 cities or ports of entry that are 100 miles or less from the northern border of the United States.

(B)

The Secretary shall designate not fewer than 3 cities or ports of entry that are 100 miles or less from the southern border of the United States.

(h)

Cost-benefit analysis

Prior to publishing a final rule in the Federal Register to carry out subsection (b), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall conduct a complete cost-benefit analysis of carrying out this section. Such analysis shall include analysis of—

(1)

any potential costs of carrying out this section on trade, travel, and the tourism industry; and

(2)

any potential savings that would result from the implementation of the State Driver's License and Identity Card Enrollment Program established under subsection (e) as an alternative to passports and passport cards.

(i)

Report

During the 2-year period beginning on the date that is the 3 months after the date on which the Secretary of Homeland Security begins implementation of subsection (b)(1)—

(1)

the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report not less than once every 3 months on—

(A)

the average delay at border crossings; and

(B)

the average processing time for a NEXUS card, FAST card, or SENTRI card; and

(2)

the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report not less than once every 3 months on the average processing time for a passport or passport card.

(j)

Appropriate congressional committees defined

In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(1)

the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate; and

(2)

the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.

.

5.

Sense of Congress regarding implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative

The intent of Congress in enacting section 546 of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007 (Public Law 109–295; 120 Stat. 1386) was to prevent the Secretary of Homeland Security from implementing the plan described in section 7209(b)(1) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (8 U.S.C. 1185 note) before the earlier of June 1, 2009, or the date on which the Secretary certifies to Congress that an alternative travel document, known as a passport card, has been developed and widely distributed to eligible citizens of the United States.

6.

Passport processing staff authorities

(a)

Reemployment of civil service annuitants

Section 61(a) of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 2733(a)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking To facilitate and all that follows through , the Secretary and inserting The Secretary; and

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking 2008 and inserting 2010.

(b)

Reemployment of foreign service annuitants

Section 824(g) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (22 U.S.C. 4064(g)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)(B), by striking to facilitate and all that follows through Afghanistan,; and

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking 2008 and inserting 2010.

7.

Report on border infrastructure

(a)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the adequacy of the infrastructure of the United States to manage cross-border travel associated with the NEXUS, FAST, and SENTRI programs. Such report shall include consideration of—

(1)

the ability of frequent travelers to access dedicated lanes for such travel;

(2)

the total time required for border crossing, including time spent prior to ports of entry;

(3)

the frequency, adequacy of facilities and any additional delays associated with secondary inspections; and

(4)

the adequacy of readers to rapidly read identity documents of such individuals.

(b)

Appropriate congressional committees defined

In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(1)

the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate; and

(2)

the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Homeland Security, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.