Thursday, February 21, 2008

Will Citizens Be Denied Reentry Into The US?

With little fanfare, and as little review, new travel rules went into effect on the 19th of February that may have a profound effect on the ability and willingness of Americans to travel abroad.

The Department of Homeland Security has placed an odious new requirement on international air travel to, from, and over the United States. Where previously passenger lists had to be supplied to DHS within 15 minutes of a US bound flight taking off, now those lists must be made available in advance and every passenger must be given "permission" by DHS to board the flight in question. Think about that for a second. A passport is no longer sufficient to allow you to travel abroad, and DHS have given themselves the ability to deny you reentry to the United States...indefinitely.

Though most people don't know this the right to travel and, more specifically, the right to return to one's country of origin is guaranteed by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the United States is a signatory. So these new rules are, in effect, a violation of treaties and by extension, the United States Constitution that requires that treaties be treated as the 'law of the land'.

Though...the small matter of treaty violations doesn't seem to bother DHS who've taken this nonsense one step further. They've added new procedural rules that require Customs and Border Protection officers to reject oral declarations of citizenship from people attempting to cross into the US by land. Now...two forms of identification that can establish citizenship will be required, presumably your passport and one other, such as a birth certificate. I don't know about you, but I'm not in the habit of carrying my birth certificate with me when I travel abroad.

So in the end the question is: When the Feds start using these rules to deny reentry to "troublemakers" (and they will), what recourse does the newly "stateless" person have?

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