Mar 26 2007
Homeland Security and Washington State Agree to Develop Enhanced Driver’s Licenses
Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the state of Washington signed a Memorandum of Agreement to launch a new, pilot program that aims to enhance the security of that state’s driver’s licenses and, in addition, serve as an alternate method to cross the United States’ land and sea borders.
This pilot program is one way to fulfill portions of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which would soon require U.S. citizens reentering the country from Canada, Mexico, Central and South American, the Caribbean and Bermuda by either land or sea to present a valid U.S. passport or other document approved by Homeland Security.
Under the new agreement, Washington would develop an enhanced driver’s license for its residents who voluntarily apply and qualify, and would include a document acceptable for reentry at U.S. land and sea ports. This enhanced driver’s license would be more expensive than the currently provided one, would require additional proofs of identity, citizenship and residency and would contain security measures similar to a U.S. passport.
The agreement is the first step toward making reasonable alternatives for ease of travel for conscientious and law-abiding U.S. citizens and is a good step toward a sensible overall border security initiative.