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An Olympic Push to Ease Border Rules

March 20, 2007 By: Dan Butcher Travel Agent

Worried about trade, tourism and the success of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, several states and Canadian provinces are pressing the Department of Homeland Security to ease some restrictions planned for the increasingly tight border between the United States and Canada, The New York Times reports. One goal is to delay the start of a measure that will require people entering the United States by land or sea to show a passport. The rule has been scheduled to take effect as early as January 2008, but the department has the latitude to delay it until June 2009. In addition, officials in Washington State say they are in final negotiations with the Homeland Security Department to create an "enhanced driver's license" that could be used instead of a passport to cross the border. State officials expect to announce soon a pilot program to give Washington residents who are United States citizens the option to apply for the new license. It would cost about $40, compared with the $97 fee for a United States passport, and it would be the size of a regular driver's license. New York and Michigan are pursuing similar programs.

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