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Keeping Them Out ---Or Keeping Us In?

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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 06:35 PM
Original message
Keeping Them Out ---Or Keeping Us In?
Remember when Alaskan extremist candidate Joe Miller cited East Germany's border fence as a fine example and we all laughed and laughed because their fence was built to keep their own people in rather than keeping foreign people out?

Well, the laugh's on us. We may not be literally building such a fence, but we are creating a virtual one:

The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mothers address one year prior to your birth; any religious ceremony around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. According to the proposed form, failure to provide the information requested may result in the denial of your U.S. passport application.

The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form.

It seems likely that only some, not all, applicants will be required to fill out the new questionnaire, but no criteria have been made public for determining who will be subjected to these additional new written interrogatories. So if the passport examiner wants to deny your application, all they will have to do is give you the impossible new form to complete.

Its not clear from the supporting statement, statement of legal authorities, or regulatory assessment submitted by the State Department to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) why declining to discuss ones siblings or to provide the phone number of your first supervisor when you were a teenager working at McDonalds would be a legitimate basis for denial of a passport to a U.S. citizen. /

What in the hell is this about?

If the worry is that non-US citizens are getting passports then they need to change the verification process in a way that's possible to meet. If it's about something else, then they need to explain what it is..

This is Big Brother stuff --- they are setting up a series of roadblocks to use "just in case" they want to deny someone a passport. The question is, who and why? Basically, this will potentially deny US citizens the ability to travel outside the country. It may not be a wall, but it functions pretty effectively as one if they want it to.
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'm sorry, but similar processes have been in place forever
My mom had no record of birth, and she had to do a huge package of information for the State Department to get a passport. Nearly 40 years ago. It was a pain in the ass. But the other option would be to flat out deny such people passports, or to put in an honor system and just say fuck it.
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. No doubt your mother had to jump through hoops but this is a new regulatory process.
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 07:21 PM by Luminous Animal
In fact, the state department is taking citizen comments about the NEW regulation.

"You can submit comments to the State Dept. online at until midnight Eastern time on Monday, April 25, 2011. Go here, then click the Submit a Comment button at the upper right of the page. If that link doesnt work for you, its probably a problem with the javascript used on the website. There are alternate instructions for submitting comments by email here:!documentDetail ;D=DOS-2011-0055-0001

For some reason I cannot get the link to work. The correct address does not include a space between the word Detail and the D=DOS.

In order to get the link to work, you need to manually remove that space so it looks like this in the address bar: ....Detail;D=DOS (etc.)
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Bluenorthwest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. It is basically the same process.
Sorry. I have no problem with a process being in place, I would have a problem with people being denied passports because they lack a record of birth. I assume you have specific ideas about how it should be done. Share them. What are the differences between the current process and the NEW one?
This sounds about the same as what Mom did. In what ways is it different?
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Given that you are the one who is making the claim that they are the same, you should have
to prove that they are.

Clearly this is a brandspankin' new regulationsbecause the State Department blatantly admits that it is a new regulation.

For what it is worth, the State Department does NOT currently require such minute detail in order to establish secondary proof of citizenship. You can read their current requirements here:

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arcane1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. 45 minutes my ass!
Hell it would take me 45 YEARS to obtain all that info, especially if it had to be 100% accurate and complete!
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