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Irish Voice News
Passport Needed for Travel
May 29, 2008
By April Drew
NEW security measures by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) means that travelers who do not have official U.S. identification when traveling within the U.S. will be required, as of May 26, to produce a passport from their country of origin.
In the past Irish immigrants living in the U.S. were allowed to use their Irish driver’s license as proof of identification while traveling on flights between states. Since Monday, May 26, Irish and other non-U.S. citizens traveling within the U.S. will be required to produce their passport as proof of identity if they do not have a U.S. issued document such as a driver’s license or permanent resident green card.
In a statement explaining why the new measures are being enforced, the TSA said, “This standardization of the list of accepted documents better aligns TSA with other DHS components, including Customs and Border Protection, and REAL ID benchmarks.”
The Irish Voice contacted the TSA authority recently, and a spokesperson assured that it is not the position of TSA officers to ask an individual about immigration status.
“The job of our officers is security; to make sure that a person’s government official identification matches the individual that is presenting it,” explained Laura Uselding, spokesperson for the TSA.
Uselding added that the TSA works in partnership with local law enforcement in every city.
“We don’t make arrests. If we find something wrong like a person carrying an excess amount of currency or if they have drugs on them then we will contact the relevant law enforcement,” she said.
A representative for the Emerald Isle Immigration Center told the Irish Voice that rumors are rampant within the Irish community making people afraid to travel.
“Of course you always take the risk when traveling inland if you are undocumented, but there is no law coming into effect or anything else that we are aware of to suggest people should stop traveling by air,” he said.
A press release from the DHS said, “Beginning May 26, 2008, federal or state-issued photo ID will be accepted if it contains name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature.”
More information on acceptable documents is available at www.tsa.gov.
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