Peterson Co-Sponsors Bi-Partisan Legislation to Fix Border Travel Restrictions

Feb 16, 2007 Issues: Foreign Affairs

(Washington, DC) – Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Donald Manzullo (R-IL), Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), and John M. McHugh (R-NY), introduced a bill to fix the travel restrictions included in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) that have the potential to harm businesses and communities along the Canadian border.

The legislation, known as the Protecting American Commerce and Travel Act, or PACT Act, has the support of the Travel Industry of America, US Chamber of Commerce and Travel Business Roundtable.

“In my district, commerce doesn’t stop at the border. For the sake of businesses and their employees who rely on ease of access, this legislation is critical,” Rep. Peterson said. “The PACT Act is a responsible and safe way for Homeland Security to protect our border without harming commerce and tourism.”

Rep. Manzullo said, “There is a crisis looming at our Northern Border. The WHTI, if handled incorrectly, will drive a wedge between the United States and our largest trading partner and closest ally. The PACT Act assures that the Departments of Homeland Security and State promulgate a regulation that will provide greater protection to our homeland while still facilitating legitimate travel and commerce.”


Highlights of the PACT Act include, but are not limited to:

Requires that DHS complete at least one pilot project to determine if a state may enhance their driver’s license to meet WHTI standards.
Exempts US/Canadian children 16 and younger from the WHTI documentary requirements, and encourages flexibility for school groups.
Sets the cost of the PASS card at $20 for the first year of issuance in order to encourage early compliance while requiring that card to be received within 10 business days after the State Department has received the application.
Expands and improves frequent traveler programs for low-risk travelers (NEXUS) and commercial drivers (FAST).

In September 2006, Congress extended the WHTI land and sea implementation deadline from January 2008 to June 2009. Given the importance of cross-border travel and trade to the economic vitality of both the US and Canada, it is imperative that DHS and State not push forward with an ill-advised WHTI plan.