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May 25, 2006: 

The Honorable Loretta Sanchez:
Ranking Minority Member:
Subcommittee on Economic Security,
Infrastructure Protection, and Cybersecurity: Committee on Homeland 
Security:
House of Representatives: 

The Honorable Louise M. Slaughter:
The Honorable John M. McHugh:
House of Representatives: 

Subject: Observations on Efforts to Implement the Western Hemisphere 
Travel Initiative on the U.S. Border with Canada: 

Securing the U.S. border has received increasing attention since the 
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. For years, U.S. and Canadian 
citizens have crossed the northern border using documents such as 
driver's licenses or birth certificates or in some cases without 
showing any documentation. Border crossings are commonplace; in 2005, 
for example, an estimated 13 million U.S. citizens crossed the northern 
border. In the heightened national security environment after September 
11, we have previously reported that documents like driver's licenses 
and birth certificates can easily be obtained, altered, or 
counterfeited and used by terrorists to travel into and out of the 
country.[Footnote 1] The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention 
Act of 2004 requires the Secretary of Homeland Security, in 
consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop and implement a 
plan that requires a passport or other document or combination of 
documents that the Secretary of Homeland Security deems sufficient to 
show identity and citizenship for U.S. citizens and citizens of 
Bermuda, Canada, and Mexico when entering the United States from 
certain countries in North, Central, or South America.[Footnote 2] The 
act requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the 
Department of State (State) to implement this requirement by January 
2008, and the effort to do so is called the Western Hemisphere Travel 
Initiative (Travel Initiative). 

While requiring passports for all border crossings would meet the 
requirements of the law, the possibility that DHS and State would do so 
has been highly controversial, and it centers attention on the 
difficult task of improving border security while still facilitating 
commerce and travel. Members of Congress, officials from state and 
local governments, officials from the Canadian government, and 
representatives of the business community have expressed concern about 
the Travel Initiative, particularly as it relates to the cost of 
purchasing passports for families and the possible impact on cross- 
border tourism at the northern border.[Footnote 3] For example, it 
would cost an American family of four over $350 to purchase passports 
to return to the United States after making a trip or multiple trips to 
Canada or elsewhere. Many fear the cost of passports will discourage 
unplanned or spontaneous travel, especially among those who cross the 
border to shop or dine or take a last-minute weekend trip. DHS and 
State have responded to these concerns by proposing a People Access 
Security Service (PASS) card that may cost less than a 
passport.[Footnote 4] The proposed card would be an alternative form of 
a passport for U.S. citizens who cross the border by land, and it would 
demonstrate both citizenship and identity. Meanwhile, various other 
alternatives have been proposed or suggested as ways to meet the Travel 
Initiative. One proposal, for example, would continue or make greater 
use of existing frequent traveler programs.[Footnote 5] These programs 
prescreen travelers to help speed their entrance into Canada and the 
United States and are a required component of the Travel Initiative 
under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.[Footnote 6] 
Other proposals include the use of driver's licenses with enhanced 
security features and a day pass--a document that could facilitate 
travel for individuals who take infrequent or spontaneous trips across 
the border. 

As the statutory deadline for implementing DHS's and State's plans 
draws closer, questions have arisen about the agencies' progress in 
carrying out the Travel Initiative. As part of our examination of the 
Travel Initiative, you asked us to provide a status report on the 
progress these agencies have made. On April 7, 2006, we briefed your 
office on our observations to date, which focused primarily on 
implementation along the northern border. This letter summarizes the 
information we provided you at that briefing. It addresses the 
following questions: 

What steps have been taken and what challenges remain in implementing 
the Travel Initiative by the statutory deadline of January 2008? 

What challenges have been identified with alternative documents or 
programs that have been suggested as substitutes for passports or PASS 
cards under the Travel Initiative? 

To do our work, we interviewed DHS and State officials in Washington, 
D.C; reviewed relevant laws and regulations; and examined documents and 
reports about the Travel Initiative and proposals for alternative 
documents and programs. We also interviewed DHS and State officials 
about existing border crossing programs, reviewed available 
documentation about these programs, and met with various local 
stakeholders in New York and Washington states to discuss their views 
about the Travel Initiative. We focused our initial work on the U.S.- 
Canadian border because the vast majority of concerns expressed about 
the Travel Initiative are from communities and states that border 
Canada. Our observations are based on the challenges faced by existing 
frequent traveler and other border-crossing programs as well as on our 
understanding of how the Travel Initiative is likely to be structured. 
Our work was conducted between January 2006 and May 2006 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards. Appendix I 
discusses our scope and methodology in more detail. 

Results: 

DHS and State are within 20 months of the January 2008 deadline for 
implementing the Travel Initiative, and while the agencies have taken 
initial steps to carry out the program, broad and extensive challenges 
remain. The steps taken and the challenges that remain fall into five 
main areas: (1) making a decision about what documents individuals will 
need when they enter the United States, (2) resolving technical and 
programmatic issues related to PASS cards, (3) proceeding through the 
rule-making process, (4) carrying out a cost-benefit study, and (5) 
managing implementation of the program. Achieving the intended security 
benefits of the Travel Initiative by the statutory milestone date, 
without simply requiring all travelers to carry a passport, appears in 
jeopardy, given the volume of work that remains. Here is a summary of 
steps taken and the challenges that remain. 

Documentary requirements: DHS still needs to decide what alternative 
documents, if any, will be acceptable in lieu of a passport when U.S. 
citizens and citizens of Canada enter or return to the United States-- 
and, in some cases, what documentation individuals will have to present 
in order to obtain them. DHS and State have taken steps to propose or 
examine an alternative form of a passport, called a PASS card, or 
alternatives to a passport, such as frequent traveler programs and day 
passes, but final decisions are still in process. Determining 
documentary requirements is key to making decisions on how DHS inspects 
individuals entering or returning to the United States from Canada. 
Also, these decisions are the first steps needed to make progress 
toward meeting the mandate. 

Implementing PASS cards: If DHS and State elect to proceed with a PASS 
card as an alternative form of a passport for U.S. citizens crossing 
land borders, they will still need to make key decisions about it. For 
example, DHS and State have taken steps to identify the PASS card as a 
lower-cost alternative form of a passport, and they have had extensive 
discussions on which type of technology to use in a PASS card, but the 
issue remains unresolved.[Footnote 7] One type of technology allows the 
cards to be read by equipment that is as much as 30 feet away. For 
example, existing frequent traveler programs at land ports use this 
technology. A second type of technology requires the card to be read 
from close proximity. Deciding on a technology involves a broad set of 
considerations that include (1) utilizing security features to protect 
personal information, (2) ensuring that proper equipment and facilities 
are in place to facilitate crossings at land borders, and (3) enhancing 
compatibility with other border-crossing technology currently in use. 
Whatever technology is chosen, designing, developing, testing, and 
evaluating the card and reader system will take time. Once the cards 
and equipment are deemed suitable, DHS and State will need to develop 
and implement operating procedures and policies to issue and inspect 
the cards. Installation time for the reader equipment will also need to 
be factored in, if the PASS card option is implemented.[Footnote 8] For 
example, not all land ports of entry currently have equipment to read 
documents, and existing equipment may not be compatible with the 
approach chosen. Other decisions on the PASS card that remain open 
include the cost of the card and equipment and whether the card will 
replace cards used in frequent traveler programs.[Footnote 9] 

Rule-making process: To implement the Travel Initiative, DHS and State 
plan to issue three rules to establish (1) the documentary requirements 
for travel by air and sea, (2) the requirements for using a PASS card, 
and (3) the documentary requirements for travel by land.[Footnote 10] 
Although DHS and State are not required to implement the law until 
January 2008, they have set an interim goal of implementing the rule 
for air and sea travelers a year early, or by January 2007, as part of 
the strategy to implement all three rules by the 2008 deadline. This 
interim goal appears in jeopardy since DHS and State have yet to submit 
the rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and to 
the public for comment--both of which, along with the process of 
responding to comments received and modifying the rule as needed, can 
take up to 8 months or more to complete.[Footnote 11] Adding pressure 
to the schedule is the fact that the regulation is generally issued at 
least 2 months before it takes effect. DHS and State face no legal 
requirement to meet this self-imposed early deadline for the first 
rule, but being unable to do so will mean that more work will shift 
into the 1 year that remains. According to officials at State, the rule 
for air and sea has been drafted and is now in the final clearance 
process at DHS. 

Cost-benefit study: One requirement of the rule-making process is that 
any decision on an approach must be preceded by a comprehensive and 
publicly disclosed cost-benefit study when the economic impact may be 
$100 million or more in any single year.[Footnote 12] This requirement 
could apply to decisions about documentation for crossing the 
border.[Footnote 13] DHS is in the early stages of studying costs and 
benefits, but much more work will be needed. For example, examining the 
costs of the new rules could involve studies of the extent to which the 
Travel Initiative discourages tourism and commerce by increasing the 
cost of acquiring needed documentation and by possibly creating delays 
at the border. In addition, policy guidance calls on agencies to 
analyze alternative actions, such as the use of frequent traveler 
programs, and to examine expected benefits, such as the expected 
reduction in lives lost, property damage, and disruptions to the 
economy as a result of reducing the likelihood of a terrorist attack. 
The requirement to include the Mexican border in the study further 
expands the scope and the work involved. Completing the study is 
dependent, in part, on knowing what kind of card and technology that 
DHS and State are likely to use--a decision that remains open. Appendix 
III provides more details on cost-benefit and other analytic 
requirements. 

Managing implementation: Once decisions are made on what documents will 
be needed, DHS and State will face challenges in program implementation 
and management. Major challenges remain in developing (1) an 
implementation plan, (2) budget estimates, (3) awareness programs for 
the public, (4) training programs for DHS staff, (5) bilateral 
coordination with Canada, and (6) a common understanding of how the 
Travel Initiative links to the overall strategy for securing the 
nation's borders. Falling short in any of these areas may hinder the 
ability of the agencies to achieve their goal of improving security 
while facilitating commerce and tourism. According to DHS officials, 
they have formed working groups to take action in each of these areas, 
but much more work remains in developing plans and approaches that 
improve the likelihood of program success. For example, DHS did not 
request funds for fiscal year 2007 to implement the Travel Initiative, 
and it remains unclear what funds DHS will need to install equipment or 
infrastructure to support the use of a PASS card by January 2008, if 
PASS is chosen. In contrast, State has developed and begun implementing 
plans for processing more passports in preparation for the Travel 
Initiative, and it has requested funds for fiscal year 2007 to do so. 
For example, it has hired more staff to adjudicate an increase in 
passport demand. In addition, State and DHS have been involved in 
numerous outreach efforts to members of Congress and stakeholders in 
northern border communities, but much more remains to be done once key 
decisions are made on the program. 

The various alternative documents or programs proposed by federal 
agencies, the business community, and others as substitutes for a U.S. 
passport or PASS card all present major challenges as well. The 
suggested alternatives fall into three main categories: (1) frequent 
traveler programs, (2) driver's licenses with enhanced security 
features and the capacity to denote citizenship, and (3) day passes. 
Appendix IV offers more details on these alternatives. Below we discuss 
the major challenges for each of these alternatives. 

Frequent traveler programs for land crossings: Participants in these 
programs are required to undergo an application process that includes 
providing fingerprints, undergoing an interview with a DHS or Canadian 
officer, submitting evidence of citizenship and identity, and taking a 
digital photograph. The cards issued to participants show citizenship 
and identity and, according to DHS, are expected to meet the 
requirements of the Travel Initiative, including the requirement that 
DHS and State make readily available a registered traveler program. 
Furthermore, they would provide Canadian citizens with an alternative 
to a passport for entering the United States. While DHS could involve 
more U.S. and Canadian citizens who frequently cross the border in 
these programs, these documents may not be useful as alternatives to a 
passport for all travelers because (1) millions of U.S. and Canadian 
citizens who cross the northern border do so only once a year or once 
every several years and they may not want to incur the cost of a card, 
and (2) for the vast majority of individuals seeking to cross the 
border, application and processing times and requirements could be as 
extensive as for passports.[Footnote 14] In addition, several 
management and policy decisions would need to be made in order to make 
using frequent traveler programs a viable alternative under the Travel 
Initiative, including identifying the requirements for making these 
cards official travel documents and determining how to make the 
application process accessible to all citizens. DHS and State currently 
do not view these cards as official travel documents. 

Driver's licenses with enhanced security features: A number of 
stakeholders are advocating a driver's license with enhanced security 
features as a substitute for a passport. They maintain that when states 
adopt driver's licenses with enhanced security features in accordance 
with the REAL ID Act, the document should be sufficient for land border 
crossings under the Travel Initiative.[Footnote 15] However, the new 
driver's licenses will not show citizenship and therefore would not by 
themselves meet the legal requirements of the Travel Initiative. 
Congress most likely would have to give states the statutory authority 
to determine citizenship and display it on driver's licenses or 
establish a process for the federal government to determine the 
citizenship status of driver's license applicants and provide this 
information to state authorities.[Footnote 16] This approach also would 
not enable Canadians to continue to enter the United States with a 
driver's license because Canadian driver's licenses would not be 
subject to any new enhanced security and citizenship requirements 
imposed in the United States. 

Day passes:[Footnote 17] This alternative would likely involve having 
U.S. citizens fill out a pass application on the U.S. side of the 
border and show the pass upon their return to the United States. It 
could provide travelers with an option to cross the border without 
obtaining a passport and without making travel plans in advance. DHS 
has not decided whether a day pass would cover documentary requirements 
for Canadian citizens wanting to cross the border. However, there are 
many operational issues to consider, including (1) the process that DHS 
would use to verify a person's identity and citizenship to obtain the 
pass; (2) the security features needed to be included on the day pass 
to prevent fraud and counterfeiting; (3) the additional facilities, 
infrastructure, and staff needed to issue a day pass; and (4) the 
training staff will need to process day pass requests. For example, 
U.S. facilities at popular border crossings would need the necessary 
space and personnel to accommodate and process the people who would 
need to stop, fill out their application forms, and have their 
documentation verified. This would take time and individuals may not 
view a day trip as worth the time it could take to obtain a pass. 

Concluding Observations: 

DHS and State have taken some steps to carry out the Travel Initiative. 
However, they have a long way to go to implement their proposed plans, 
and the time to get the job done is slipping by. The many challenges 
that they face mirror the complexities and the nuances involved in 
developing a border security program that is a major cultural change in 
the way that individuals and commerce cross the U.S.-Canadian border. 
There are no easy alternatives to a passport or a PASS card that meet 
the legal requirement to show identity and citizenship. Alternative 
programs or documents, such as frequent traveler programs and driver's 
licenses with enhanced security features, have their own set of 
challenges, and using them in lieu of a passport will not easily 
resolve the management issues faced by DHS and State. These conditions, 
coupled with the significant cross-border commerce and tourism, 
heighten the need to take care in planning, evaluating, testing, and 
implementing an approach that ultimately improves security at the 
northern border without adversely affecting commerce and tourism in a 
significant way. Attempting to address these challenges under what 
appears to be an ambitious schedule adds uncertainty and risk. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided a draft of this report to DHS and State for comment. DHS 
did not have official comments on our draft, but did provide technical 
comments which we incorporated in this report where appropriate. 

In its official comments, State generally agreed with the challenges we 
described in the draft report, but expressed concern that our 
concluding observations did not adequately recognize various steps it 
had taken to carry out the program. State provided examples of actions 
it had taken in several areas, such as proceeding with the rulemaking 
process, estimating the increase in passport demand, developing the 
PASS card, examining the cost of a passport, and carrying out an 
outreach effort to members of Congress and the public. We revised the 
report where appropriate to recognize the steps taken by State in these 
areas. These steps notwithstanding, we continue to believe that the 
work remaining for both DHS and State, the complexities and nuances 
involved, and the time required to complete the implementation steps 
present a challenge for the agencies to meet the statutory deadline. 
State's official comments are reprinted in appendix V. 

As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its 
contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 
30 days after its issue date. At that time, we will send copies of this 
report to interested congressional committees and subcommittees. We 
will also make copies available to others on request. In addition, this 
report will be available at no charge on GAO's Web site at MACROBUTTON 
HtmlResAnchor http://www.gao.gov. 

If you or your staff have any questions about this report or wish to 
discuss the matter further, please contact me at (202) 512-8777 or 
MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor stanar@gao.gov. Contact points for our 
Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on 
the last page of this report. Other key contributors to this report 
were John Mortin, Assistant Director, Neil Asaba, Chuck Bausell, 
Frances Cook, Richard Hung, Sara Margraf, Amanda Miller: 

Signed by: 

Richard M. Stana: 
Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues: 

Appendix I: 

Scope and Methodology: 

While the Travel Initiative applies to citizens of Bermuda, Canada, and 
Mexico entering the United States from certain countries in North, 
Central and South America, we focused our initial work on the U.S.- 
Canadian border because the vast majority of concerns expressed about 
the Travel Initiative were from communities and states that border 
Canada. To determine what steps have been taken and what challenges 
remain, we reviewed several announcements by DHS and State on their 
plans and schedule for carrying out the initiative. At DHS and State 
headquarters, we met with program officials in charge of carrying out 
the Travel Initiative and talked to them about the current status of 
the program. We also reviewed key procedures for carrying out cost- 
benefit studies, and we discussed the process for issuing new 
regulations with DHS lawyers involved in the rule-making process. We 
also reviewed reports on border security with Canada. As part of our 
work, we met with local stakeholders, such as officials from the 
Bellingham/Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce (Washington) and the 
Buffalo Niagara Partnership (New York), who have expressed concern to 
members of Congress regarding the initiative and the economic impact it 
might have on northern border communities. We reviewed pertinent laws 
and regulations related to the Travel Initiative and other documents 
provided by DHS and State. Our ability to analyze these challenges was 
limited because key decisions about the program have not yet been made. 
To determine what challenges have been identified with alternative 
travel documents or programs that have been suggested as substitutes 
for passports or PASS cards under the Travel Initiative, we reviewed 
program documents on frequent traveler programs, such as NEXUS--a DHS 
program for commuters who live in border communities who frequently 
travel back and forth across the border--and FAST--a program for truck 
companies and their drivers who transport goods and commerce across the 
border. We selected and visited ports of entry in Blaine, Washington, 
and Buffalo, New York, because of their geographic location and because 
each has NEXUS and FAST facilities. We also visited Alexandria Bay, New 
York, because of its proximity to Buffalo, New York. At all three 
locations, we met with staff in charge of border-crossing programs to 
gain a better understanding of border-crossing procedures, 
infrastructure, and technology. Our work was conducted between January 
2006 and May 2006 in accordance with generally accepted government 
auditing standards. 

Appendix II: 

General Overview of the Federal Rule-Making Process: 

This appendix provides an overview of the steps in the rule-making 
process for a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866 
and the potential time involved for some of the steps. 

Step 1: Agency (or agencies, if a joint rule) completes development of 
the notice of proposed rule making (NPRM), which includes the proposed 
rule and supplemental information.[Footnote 18] 

Step 2: Agency submits the draft NPRM and supporting materials, 
including any required cost-benefit analysis, to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for review. 

Step 3: OMB reviews the draft NPRM and supporting materials and 
coordinates review of the proposed rule by any other agencies that may 
have an interest in it. 

Step 4: OMB notifies the agency in writing of the results of its 
review, including any provisions requiring further consideration by the 
agency, within 90 calendar days after the date of submission to 
OMB.[Footnote 19] 

Step 5: OMB resolves disagreements or conflicts, if any, between or 
among agency heads or between OMB and any agency; if it cannot do so, 
such disagreements or conflicts are resolved by the President or by the 
Vice President acting at the request of the President. 

Step 6: Once OMB notifies the agency that it has completed its review 
without any requests for further consideration, the agency reviews the 
NPRM and publishes it for public comment in the Federal Register. 

Step 7: Agency is to give the public a meaningful opportunity to 
comment on the proposed rule, which generally means a comment period of 
not less than 60 days. 

Step 8: Once the comment period has closed, the agency reviews the 
comments received, makes appropriate revisions to the proposed rule, 
and prepares a notice of the final rule, including supplemental 
information with responses to comments received.[Footnote 20] 

Step 9: Agency submits draft notice and final rule, including updated 
supporting materials or cost-benefit analysis, to OMB for review. 

Step 10: OMB reviews the draft notice, final rule, and supporting 
materials; coordinates review by any other agencies that may have an 
interest in the rule; and notifies the agency of the results within 90 
calendar days after the date of submission to OMB.[Footnote 21] 

Step 11: Once OMB notifies the agency that it has completed its review 
without any requests for further consideration, the agency reviews the 
rule one more time and generally publishes the final rule and 
supplemental information in the Federal Register at least 60 days 
before the new rule takes effect. 

Appendix III: 

Summary of Federal Guidelines for Cost-Benefit Analysis and Other 
Analytic Requirements: 

Section 6(a)(3)(C) of Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and 
Review) and OMB Circular A-4 provide guidance to federal agencies 
involved in developing a cost-benefit analysis for a rule that may have 
an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely 
affect in a material way the economy or certain other sectors.[Footnote 
22] OMB designed this guidance to standardize the way benefits and 
costs of federal regulatory actions are measured and reported. Besides 
calling on agencies to estimate the overall benefits and costs of a 
proposed rule, this guidance stipulates that an agency's cost-benefit 
analysis should provide a separate description of distributional 
effects (i.e., how both benefits and costs are distributed among 
populations of particular concern) so that decision makers can properly 
consider them along with the effects on economic efficiency. 

Another area of the guidance deals with the scope of the analysis as it 
pertains to effects outside the United States. While the guidance notes 
that analysis should focus on benefits and costs that accrue to 
citizens and residents of the United States, it also states that where 
an agency chooses to evaluate a regulation that is likely to have 
effects beyond the borders of the United States, these effects should 
be reported separately. 

OMB Circular A-4 also reminds agencies that in preparing analytical 
support for rule making, there are a number of analytic requirements 
imposed by law and executive order that are in addition to the 
regulatory analysis requirements of Executive Order 12866. An agency 
should consider whether the rule will need specialized analysis of any 
of the following issues.[Footnote 23] 

Impact on small businesses and other small entities: Under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C.  603-604), agencies must prepare 
an initial and a final regulatory flexibility analysis (RFA) if the 
rule making could have a significant impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. Circular A-4 provides that an agency should consider 
posting its RFA on the Internet so the public can review its findings. 

Circular A-4 also states that an agency should have guidelines on how 
to prepare an RFA and encourages agencies to consult with the Chief 
Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration on 
expectations concerning what is an adequate RFA. Executive Order 13272 
requires an agency to notify the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of any 
draft rules that might have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. 

Analysis of unfunded mandates: Under the Unfunded Mandates Act (2 
U.S.C.  1532), an agency must prepare a written statement about 
benefits and costs prior to issuing a proposed or final rule (for which 
the agency published a proposed rule) that may result in aggregate 
expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, or by the private 
sector, of $100 million or more in any year (adjusted annually for 
inflation). According to OMB, an agency's analytical requirements under 
Executive Order 12866 are similar to the analytical requirements under 
this act, and thus the same analysis may permit it to comply with both 
analytical requirements. 

Information collection, paperwork, and record-keeping burdens: Under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C.  3506-3507), an agency will 
need to consider whether its rule making (or other actions) will create 
any additional information collection, paperwork, or record-keeping 
burdens. These burdens are permissible only if it can justify the 
practical utility of the information for the implementation of its 
rule. OMB approval will be required of any new requirements for a 
collection of information imposed on 10 or more persons, and a valid 
OMB control number must be obtained for any covered paperwork. 
According to Circular A-4, an agency's Chief Information Officer should 
be able to assist it in complying with the Paperwork Reduction Act. 

Appendix IV: 

Alternatives Proposed for Use under the Travel Initiative and Their 
Suitability for Use in Lieu of a Passport: 

We reviewed several alternative documents or programs that have been 
proposed as substitutes for a passport under the Travel Initiative. 
Table 1 summarizes several alternatives that have been proposed for the 
U.S.-Canadian land border. For comparison purposes, we also include 
Canadian and U.S. passports in the table. Frequent traveler programs 
refer to the NEXUS and FAST programs, which operate along the northern 
border.[Footnote 24] NEXUS is for commuters who live in border 
communities who frequently travel back and forth across the border, and 
FAST is for truck companies and their drivers who transport goods 
across the border. Driver's licenses with enhanced security features 
are required under the REAL ID Act.[Footnote 25] The act requires 
states that want their driver's licenses to be accepted for official 
federal purposes to adopt standard practices for adding enhanced 
security features in driver's licenses by May 2008. The act does not 
specifically require states to show citizenship on driver's licenses. 

Because DHS and State have not made a final decision as to which 
alternative to implement or whether to implement one at all, our 
assessment is based upon the information we obtained from interviews 
with DHS and State officials and announcements made by the agencies. 

Appendix IV: 

Table 1: Alternatives Proposed for Use under the Travel Initiative for 
the U.S.-Canadian Land Border[A]: 

PASS card; 
Establishes citizenship: Checked; 
Establishes identity: Checked; 
Available to U.S. citizens: Checked; 
Available to Canadian citizens: [Empty]; 
Cost: Undecided; 
Document validity: Undecided. 

Frequent traveler programs; 
Establishes citizenship: Checked; 
Establishes identity: Checked; 
Available to U.S. citizens: Checked; 
Available to Canadian citizens: Checked; 
Cost: $50 USD; $80 CAN; 
Document validity: 5 years. 

Enhanced driver's licenses; 
Establishes citizenship: [Empty]; 
Establishes identity: Checked; 
Available to U.S. citizens: Checked; 
Available to Canadian citizens: [Empty]; 
Cost: Varies by state law; 
Document validity: Varies by state law. 

Day passes; 
Establishes citizenship: Undecided; 
Establishes identity: Undecided; 
Available to U.S. citizens: Undecided; 
Available to Canadian citizens: Undecided; 
Cost: Undecided; 
Document validity: Undecided. 

U.S. passport[B]; 
Establishes citizenship: Checked; 
Establishes identity: Checked; 
Available to U.S. citizens: Checked; 
Available to Canadian citizens: [Empty]; 
Cost: $97 USD; 
Document validity: 10 years. 

Canadian passport[C]; 
Establishes citizenship: Checked; 
Establishes identity: Checked; 
Available to U.S. citizens: [Empty]; 
Available to Canadian citizens: Checked; 
Cost: $87 CAN; 
Document validity: 5 years. 

Source: GAO analysis of DHS and State data. 

[A] According to DHS officials, other documents that could be 
considered are U.S. military identification and American Indian/tribal 
identification. 

[B] The cost of a U.S. passport is $97 USD for an adult 16 years and 
older and is valid for 10 years. The cost of a U.S. passport for a 
child under 16 is $82 USD and is valid for 5 years. 

[C] Canadian passports issued to Canadians living in Canada cost $87 
CAN. For those Canadians living in the United States, the cost to 
obtain a Canadian passport is $97 CAN. For those Canadians living 
elsewhere, the cost to obtain a passport is $100 CAN. 

[End of table] 

Appendix V: 

Comments from the U.S. Department of State: 

[See PDF for Image] 

[End of Figure] 

(440481): 

FOOTNOTES 

[1] GAO, Counterfeit Documents Used to Enter the United States from 
Certain Western Hemisphere Countries Not Detected, GAO-03-713T 
(Washington, D.C.: May 13, 2003). 

[2] Pub. L. No. 108-458,  7209, 118 Stat. 3638, 3823 (2004). 

[3] A study commissioned by State estimated that 26 percent of the 
eligible citizen population in the United States have passports. A 
Study to Determine the Inaugural and Annual Demand for U.S. Passports 
by U.S. Citizens Living In and Traveling to Canada, Mexico, and the 
Caribbean; Phase Four: U.S. Land Border Passport Demand Survey, 
prepared for the Passport Services Office, Bureau of Consular Affairs, 
U.S. Department of State, by BearingPoint (October, 2005) 

[4] According to State, it is also examining the cost of a passport to 
see whether it can be reduced. 

[5] The United States and Canada operate two frequent traveler 
programs: NEXUS and FAST. NEXUS is for commuters who live in border 
communities who frequently travel back and forth across the border. 
FAST is for truck companies and their drivers who transport goods 
across the border. 

[6] The act requires DHS and State to seek to expedite the travel of 
frequent travelers, including those who reside in border communities, 
and that, in doing so, they make readily available a registered 
traveler program. 

[7] The technology that DHS and State are considering is called radio 
frequency identification (RFID). RFID is an automated data-capture 
technology that can be used to electronically identify, track, and 
store information contained on a tag. Identification and tracking 
capabilities are provided using wireless communication to transmit 
data. Current RFID applications include building access badges, highway 
toll collection, and supply chain management. 

[8] While the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 
addresses documentary requirements for certain cross-border travelers, 
it is silent on whether such documents should be read electronically. 

[9] According to officials at State, the department will issue and 
adjudicate the PASS card in the same way as traditional passports. 

[10] In September 2005, DHS and State issued an advance notice of 
proposed rule making that invited the public to provide comments on 
possible means of implementing the Travel Initiative, including 
comments on documents other than passports that should be accepted. 

[11] See appendix II for a more detailed description of the steps and 
potential time frames involved in the rule-making process. 

[12] Executive Order 12866--Regulatory Planning and Review--states that 
for any regulation that may result in an annual effect on the economy 
of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the 
economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the 
environment, public health or safety, or state, local, or tribal 
governments or communities, an agency must develop and submit a cost 
benefit analysis to OMB and make it available to the public after 
publication of the proposed regulation in the Federal Register. While 
agencies must conduct an assessment of the potential costs and benefits 
for any rule deemed to be significant under the executive order, this 
more rigorous requirement is triggered by the $100 million threshold. 

[13] A study commissioned by State estimated that 6.8 million, or about 
51 percent, of all U.S. citizens who visited Canada in 2005 did not 
possess a passport. If 2 million of these individuals purchased a PASS 
card for $50 in any single year, the Travel Initiative would meet the 
$100 million threshold. A Study to Determine the Inaugural and Annual 
Demand for U.S. Passports by U.S. Citizens Living In and Traveling to 
Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean; Phase Four: U.S. Land Border 
Passport Demand Survey, prepared for the Passport Services Office, 
Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, by BearingPoint 
(October, 2005). 

[14] Currently, less than 1 percent of U.S. citizens who cross the 
northern border are participants in frequent traveler programs. 

[15] In May 2005, Congress passed legislation--known as the REAL ID Act 
of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 109-13,  201-207, 119 Stat. 302, 311-316 )--that 
requires states that want their driver's licenses to be accepted for 
official federal purposes to adopt standard practices for adding 
enhanced security features in driver's licenses by May 2008. 

[16] The REAL ID Act does not specifically allow or require states to 
show citizenship on driver's licenses. A driver's license with 
citizenship information on it could be controversial if it were 
perceived as a national identification card since concerns have been 
raised about such cards in regards to individuals' privacy and freedom 
to travel. 

[17] Unlike frequent traveler programs that DHS has operated for 
several years, the proposal to use a day pass has recently surfaced, 
and it is in the very early stages of consideration. 

[18] An agency may also begin this process with an advance notice of 
proposed rule making that seeks comments and suggestions from the 
public on the potential content of a forthcoming NPRM, but this step is 
not required by law or executive order in most cases. 

[19] Executive Order 12866 provides that, for rules governed by a 
statutory deadline, the agency shall, to the extent practicable, 
schedule rule-making proceedings so as to permit sufficient time for 
OMB review. It also provides that when an agency is obligated by law to 
act more quickly than normal review procedures allow, the agency shall 
comply with the requirements to submit the proposed rule and required 
supporting materials to OMB, "to the extent practicable." 

[20] If the final rule is materially different from the proposed rule, 
possibly because of new issues raised or other important legal or 
substantive developments during the comment period, an agency may 
decide to publish it as a proposed rule instead with a second comment 
period. This approach helps the agency provide sufficient notice and 
opportunity for public comment on how the rule addresses the new issues 
or developments, but it delays implementation of the final rule. 

[21] This time period is reduced to 45 days if OMB has previously 
reviewed the rule and supporting information and there has been no 
material change in the facts and circumstances upon which the rule is 
based. 

[22] OMB Circular A-4 (2003). 

[23] OMB Circular A-4 requires agencies to address seven issues to 
determine whether a specialized analysis will be needed. In this 
appendix, we included only those that may pertain to the Travel 
Initiative. 

[24] Since we are focusing our work on the northern border, we did not 
include SENTRI, a frequent traveler program for those crossing the 
southern border, in our evaluation. 

[25] Pub. L. No. 109-13,  201-207, 119 Stat. 302, 311-316 (2005). 

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