Thursday, January 31, 2008

End of an Era: Passports required to enter Mexico starting today

For my entire lifetime, you could walk or drive into Mexico from Texas with no ID except a Texas driver's license; I didn't get a passport myself until the first time I went overseas. But starting today, every American entering Mexico must have a passport, thanks to the Department of Homeland Stupidity Security.

Do you feel safer? I don't. Lots of Texans don't have passports who aren't a security threat, but all the 9/11 hijackers had fake passports that let them through security. So what's the point of this, exactly?

Generations of Texans until now could visit the Mexican border without registering with the feds or having your travel recorded on a visa stamp (many people go back and forth quite frequently, after all, including regular commuters). So this adds more bureaucratic steps in the border crossing process and likely clogs up the borders in the short term while they work out the kinks and accommodate delays. If this improves security, though, I wish somebody could tell me how.

UPDATE: Frequent crossers can apply for a special "passport card" that's only good for land crossings, not air travel, which tracks border crossing by RFID.

RELATED: It's not just American tourists and maquiladora suppliers who need to cross the border. Al Jazeera, of all places, has a short piece on the "hundreds of thousands of lower and middle class Americans [who] have crossed the southern borders to Mexico, in search of everything from prescription drugs to alternative cancer treatments, still illegal in the US." Having once been hospitalized while traveling in Mexico, my experience has been that you can get pretty darn good healthcare there if you're able to pay, and at mind bogglingly low rates compared to US healthcare costs.


Anonymous said...

Great post! I thought this was interesting...

Mexican government wants to use biochips to stop immigration

Anonymous said...

In some ways, I agree that it should not be done.

However, how can you complain about a wall while saying that everyone crosses through the legal checkpoints, then complain when they try to control the legal checkpoints?

Doesn't make sense to complain that they aren't working on a comprehensive security package, then complain when they start implementing a comprehensive security package.

That being said, DHS should be disbanded and the responsibility for the borders placed back where it was.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"how can you complain about a wall while saying that everyone crosses through the legal checkpoints, then complain when they try to control the legal checkpoints"

Because this provides no measurable increase in control. What is the security benefit over the TX DL? I don't see it.

Anonymous said...

No security benefit......

The difference is that the FED rather than the border state(s) now have a hand in it.

Big government from conservatives that will soon be out of power. The real problem is that the Democrats will not unwind this bad idea.

I hope this is a step toward making legal immigration from Mexico more realistic and in touch with the US and Mexico economic realities.

More likely it is just as you suggested - stupid. How sad!

Anonymous said...

There are two important, and contrasting facts about our history. (1) there have been waves of immigration from the very beginning, and most, if not all of our ancestors were immigrants (there is a lot of evidence that even Native Americans immigrated across the North Pacific land bridge). (2) Each wave of immigration has been opposed by those who were already here. There has been an almost constant effort to close our borders. Note that the concern is primarilly with our Southern border. Canada has very loose controls on its own immigration, yet I have yet to hear cries to seal up our Northern border with fences and tight security at border crossings. Gee, why is that, pray tell?

Anonymous said...

It's the first step. I know you like to pretend that the wall, passports, increased patrols and increased ICE raids each happen in a vacuum and because of that they're easier to discredit, but all taken together they're aimed at making it more difficult to get into the country and for having less of an incentive to stay once you're in.

Some things you don't see because you don't want to see.

You've never answered my question about the polls. Am I in the minority on this topic, or are you?

Anonymous said...

The border towns, I'm afraid will just dry up and blow away now. Every time I travel to a border town, I notice that most of the shoppers are lower-middle class Americans. I'm not thinking very many of these Americans are going to pay $100 to get a passport.

Anonymous said...

Having lived several decades I find the operation of our government has become more ridiculous each day. When I say our government, I am speaking about the lowest to the highest level. It seems the citizens of the United States no longer care what the politicians do. I have to ask myself why we have to make sweeping changes to how we have done things at the border for years. I doubt the new system will protect us anymore than the old system. I can only hope the government does not screw up my senior discount along with mismanaging social security into ruin.

Anonymous said...

I think Al Jazeera is an Arabic TV Station (maybe a newspaper), not a place.

So much for my geography. I think it is based somewhere in the middle east, but I don't know where.

W W Woodward said...


While reading your "End of an Era:..." blog, I got a flashback to Pres. Reagan's "Tear Down This Wall" speech. Walls and fences, as the German peoples discovered, not only keep people out they also keep people in.

The government has a stake in keeping us scared to death of something, anything, or anybody. Global Warming, Hordes of Immigrants (illegal or otherwise), Nuclear War, ad nauseum.

Build a fence around it. With fences we can more easily maintain control over our people. Ranchers as well as chicken farmers found long ago that fences tend to make it a lot easier to maintain their live stock. Fences usually won't deter the predator they just make it easier for the rancher or farmer to obtain a steak or some fried chicken.

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." – Plato

Anonymous said...

Once again Grits, you go off with half the facts.

You do not need a passport to enter Mexico. You need a passport or it's equivalent, i.e. passport card to enter the US.

It's not to get out, it's to get back in.

Anonymous said...

and...BTW the 9/11 folk didn't have fake passports. They were here on legitimate visas. Some had expired, but it wasn't passport issue. The had legit Saudi passports.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's a distinction without a difference, get it right. For a US citizen, who cares if they'll accept my TX DL one direction if not the other unless I plan to never return?

Good point on the expired visas for 9/11 hijackers - OTOH, half of illegal immigrants are here on expired visas, too. That's one of the reasons a border wall is a farce - it doesn't stop the way most people get in.

Can anybody name any specific way this improves security at all? It seems to only inconvenience Americans for no reason I can identify.

Anonymous said...

It's about money. Money vampires, if you will.

Influential people, corporations, and their pals set up in government make us bleed money for things unheard of fifty years ago.

And we just take it... like some kind of dimwitted sheep.

The wall is the same thing. Wheeler dealers making money.

Anonymous said...

save the tequila, nothing worth a shit comes out of mex anyways. seal'er up, git'er done.

LChuco said...

A point that deserves mention: the more folks who carry passports into Mexico, the more folks who will lose (or be robbed of) their passports. And then, the more passports there will be floating around on the black market. Do you feel safer yet?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Michael you're totally right and your comments (not you, their content) just completely pissed me off.

It's one thing to be stupid. It's another to be dangerously stupid, and in charge.