Iroquois passport dispute raises sovereignty issue
By Felicia Fonseca
"If you're acknowledged as a government-to-government entity, there should be an opportunity for them to issue their own passports and visas," Belcourt said.
Previously, tribal members who lived near the country's northern border faced no problems when traveling between Canada and the U.S., he said. Now, tribal members, along with other travelers seeking to cross the country's borders, must adhere to stricter security guidelines.
"With 9/11, everything changed," Belcourt said.
In recent months, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been working with tribes to develop tribal ID cards with enhanced security features. Those would be good for arrivals in the U.S. only by land or sea but couldn't be used in lieu of a federal passport. Twenty-five tribes already have or are working toward formal agreements.
Robert Holden, deputy director at the National Congress of American Indians, said the Washington, D.C.-based group is hopeful the use of secured cards could be expanded to allow tribal members to travel abroad.
"It would have all the secure attributes that a passport would have, certainly a record of membership of that respective nation," Holden said. "So why would it not be accepted beyond the borders of the United States and accepted internationally?"
I thought the 9/11 hijackers enter the country with valid passports, visas, or whatever. So we're cracking down on Indians with a law that wouldn't have prevented 9/11 if it had been in place then? Nice.
Too bad the hypocritical Tea Parties are protesting government spending programs
For more on the subject, see Iroquois Team Bows Out of Tournament and Iroquois Team Fights for Sovereignty.