Come January 31, oral declarations of U.S. citizenship for crossing back into the United States from Canada will be a thing of the past, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff said yesterday.
Adults who don't have passports will no longer be able to simply tell agents they are U.S. citizens. They'll be required to show an identification card, such as a driver's license, and proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate .... [Chertoff] said that leaving the oral declarations in place at the northern border makes a mockery of the government's efforts to stop illegal immigration across the southern border with Mexico.
Critics of the move, like Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY), say the new border rules will lead to unnecessary congestion at border crossing locations.
"We're not going to stand for it," she said. "There will be such a tie-up at that border. It will be the worst the world has ever seen."
But Chertoff isn't buying it and he had some choice words for those opposing DHS' latest border security rule.
"It's time to grow up and recognize that if we're serious about this threat, we've got to take reasonable, measured but nevertheless determined steps to getting better security," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.
When the new rules start, anyone 19 and older will have to provide a proof of citizenship to cross back into the United States. Acceptable proof of citizenship, reports the AP, include:
• U.S. passport
• U.S. passport card
• Trusted Traveler card
• Secure driver's license
• U.S. military ID with travel orders
• U.S. merchant mariner document
• One of several IDs issued to American Indians
If the person crossing does not have any of these documents, they will have to present their driver's license with a birth certificate, or if an immigrant to the United States, a government certificate that shows naturalization, citizenship, or birth abroad.