Leahy upset about passport enforcement

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(Host) Senator Patrick Leahy is angry that the Bush administration intends to enforce new rules for crossing the U.S. border from Canada.

He says Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is implementing the new rules even though Congress ordered that they be delayed.

(Leahy) “We addressed it in Congress and he seems to be doing what seems to be more and more the attitude of Bush administration. They’ll sign a bill into law and then ignore the clear law.”

(Host) Beginning February first, people seeking entry to the United States will have to present a birth certificate or passport at the border.

For years, border agents have had authority simply to ask people at the border their nationality.

Agents have routinely waved through those who say they’re Americans.

The Department of Homeland Security says that will no longer be sufficient.

Leahy says the new requirement is going to create lines at the border and will interfere with commerce.

(Leahy) “It’s going to make it far more difficult for people to go back and forth across the border. Certainly at a time when the Canadian dollar is worth as much or more as ours it’s going to stop a lot of Canadians from coming down to the United States to spend money.”

(Host) Leahy says despite his objections, the new regulations will take effect on February first. He says he fears many people will be turned away because they don’t have the required documents.

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