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The Debate: US Passport Vs Enhanced License

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There has been much talk about the new law that is set to come into play in June of 2009, which is that those American citizens who wish to cross into Canada will need to have a passport in order to go across and to come back. This law has been met by much frustration by those who live close to the border of Canada and who are used to crossing over into the country quickly and easily. They do not feel that it should be necessary to have a passport in order to go across the border, while the Department of Homeland Security feels that it is one of the only ways to make sure that everyone is safe.

The Options
There have been a number of options that have been discussed in regards to making border crossing safe and easy for everyone. One idea is to issue specific license plates to those who live near a border. These license plates would allow officials at the crossing to know that the person who is crossing is a local and is secure to go across the border. The problem with this, however, is that it is easy to steal plates off of a car or truck, making it virtually impossible to know if the plates that are crossing are real or are stolen.

An option that has been getting some serious considering, however, is an enhanced license. An enhanced license would be issued by the state that you live in, much in the same way that a regular driver’s license is issued. They are different, however, in that they will have a microchip in them that will allow the border patrol to know exactly who you are, making border crossing much faster. This chip, called a Radio Frequency Identification chip, or RFID chip, signals a computer and will pull up all of your information as you are near a border. There will also be a barcode that can be scanned by the patrol officer if, for whatever reason, the RFID is not working. This chip will not only show your biography, but will also show biometric data, making it very safe.

Passport VS Enhanced License
There are a number of border states, including Washington and Vermont, that sit on the Canadian border and who are currently working with the Department of Homeland Security in order to make enhanced drivers licenses available for those living in their state. Because of this, many people are selecting to wait to purchase an enhanced license rather than purchase a passport now. An enhanced license will help you to get across the Canadian border, but it will not help you to visit other countries that are not connected to the United States. Also, if you happen to be in a different border state, such as Maine, the enhanced license may not help you to cross the border. Most experts agree that getting a passport is one of the best ways to ensure that you can make it across the border without any hassles.

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