Friday, September 08, 2006


Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), joined by representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and The Cato Institute, yesterday released its report, "Border Security: PASS Card Fails on Cost, Privacy." (pdf)

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, slated to go in effect in 2008, requires U.S. citizens and all travelers to show a passport or other document approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to enter the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership ( is supposed to secure the borders of North America and make it easier for citizens of the "North American Community" to travel within North America. But it turns out the real purpose is to make it easier for the government to monitor and control us, even as it in fact makes it more burdensome, not easier, to travel within North America. The CAGW Press Release says:

The PASS Card, or People Access Security Service, may be embedded with an RFID (radio frequency identification) chip that could be read from 30 to 50 feet away.

CAGW’s report questions whether the cost to travel, commerce, and taxpayers outweighs any benefit of the new PASS card. The federal government’s cost estimates have been notoriously low in similar projects. For example, the estimated cost of the REAL ID Act was $100 million, but current estimates are that REAL ID could eclipse $17.3 billion.

(But when has a government estimate not understated costs by at least 1,000%?)

"Your papers, please."

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