Readers’ responses to U.S. passport regulations at the border

passportOne of the more popular entries on this blog has been about a certain U.S. policy that requires U.S. travelers returning from border towns like Tijuana to show a designated travel document, which in most cases means a passport, at the land ports of entry.

 It used to be  that many cross-border travelers could just flash a driver’s license, but potential terrorists and other border security concerns seem to have put an end to that – or maybe not.

The U.S. government started the policy this year. However, the reality and the rules don’t seem to be matching up. I have yet to hear from a  reader who has been prevented from re-entering the country for not having their passport. Here are a few recent postings  – in case you didn’t see them in the comments section – from readers who shared their own experiences of travelling sans passports. 

Hey Anna,
well i just got back from my vacation to San Filipe and had a blast. Check this out, all the stress and worry over not having a passport, for nothing. they let me right back over no questions asked. so i stopped at a jack in the box and ask two border patrol agents whats up with all of this… you know what they told me? they said that they cannot and will not deny any U.S. citizen entry back into the states. they said its in the constitution. they said “if you just have an I.D., you will just go to secondary and be questioned.” thats it!, they said that the passport is preffered but not “REQUIRED” its a bunch of media B.S. even they said it got alot of money moving for people were so scared to not have a passport. bottom line your a real citizen your aloud back home.

And here’s another note from a frequent border-crosser called “Chris.”:

I cross 2 -4 times a week at the san ysidro crossing with nothing but my DL and birth certificate.

If your a US citizen you have nothing to worry about its a new rule not a codified law.. The consititution forbids keeping a citizen from returning. Yes got sent to secondary once but that was within the 1st week of the new policy.

Furthermore its a dumb rule it will not stop terrorists or border jumpers.

I personally use a special travel card called the SENTRI, so I’m not affected by all this, and I’m not advocating pushing your luck with the U.S. government, but it does raise an interesting question as to how feasible this policy really is. 

To read more reader comments go here:


4 responses to “Readers’ responses to U.S. passport regulations at the border

  1. Yes, but who wants to get held up being searched and questioned? They don’t always just wave people through-this lady obviously had an unpleasant experience, although she did get back in:

    I would get a passport if you’re planning to cross.

  2. Thanks, Alison. That’s a really interesting point. It does seem to be a case-by-case sort of thing for now. We will have to see what happens as time passes and more people are entered into the system after being caught without a passport.

  3. I went across with flying colors without having to show nothing but what i was carrying in my travlers, I left a m onth later with my id was my native american trible card, no questions asked; But I will admitt i was scared….

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