New Passport Law in Effect

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Getting back into the U.S. from Mexico, just got a little bit harder.  Starting on June 1st, 2009, you need a passport to get back into the United States.  The new law means you can't get back into the United States with just a photo ID and birth certificate.

"I didn't know about it until a while ago, but I've been wanting to get one for a while now," Resident Cecilia Ramirez, said.

Ramirez waited to get a U.S. Passport for almost an hour, but she wasn't the only one waiting in that very same line.

A large group stood in line at the Midland Post Office since early morning, trying to get their passports processed before heading out of the country.

"I usually go back and forth, cause my grandma's been sick. So I've been going to see my grandma," Ramirez said.

Originally the passport requirement for entering the U.S. was supposed to take effect in January, but the deadline was pushed back to give the millions of travelers time to get ready.

"Before you could have birth certificate and photo ID, but not anymore. Custom officials are going to create a problem for you coming back," Travel Agent Bob Landreth, said.

Some U.S. citizens say even though it's just one more thing to remember before you take off for your trip; they don't mind the new law.

"With today's situation and stuff, I don't see anything wrong with it. It's an inconvenience and added expenses, but they've made it where it's not difficult to get one," Resident Jesse Messmer, said.

"It's a security iniciative because of September 11th, it's something that we're going to have to live with. The security of this country is paramount," Landreth said.

Landreth says the new passport card, that looks like a drivers license, is only valid when driving across the border.  If you are traveling to Canada or Mexico by air, you will need the passport booklet.