Controversial passport card system put out for bid

Final WHTI Passport Card System RFP

Editor's note:This story was updated at 3:15 p.m. June 4, 2007. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

The State and Homeland Security departments are pushing forward with a controversial program to upgrade border security by creating a passport card system for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).

WHTI will require citizens show biometric credentials at border crossings.  Border state officials object to WHTI because they fear it could harm commerce, which brings visitors who spend money on products and services.  The Senate voted to delay the implementation of WHTI until 2009 because of such concerns.

The just-released request for proposals calls for a three-tier plan to acquire passport cards,  test the system and initially deploy the cards in the State Department’s Consular Affairs bureau.

In a separate initiative, the state of Washington and DHS plan to conduct a test program using upgraded driver's licenses to improve security at the Canadian border.

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