Tar and Abby

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I get paranoid and with good reason...

Being born in another country, add 9/11 reactions, add birther hysteria, add TSA up against the wall! activity, add the recent story of a 95 year old man threatened with deportation (like me born in Canada of American parents) - and I get paranoid.

So add in today's news story about possible new passport regulations -

"If you don’t want it to get even harder for a U.S. citizen to get a passport — now required for travel even to Canada or Mexico — you only have until Monday to let the State Department know.

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; (for me that is about 17)

lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; (At least 10 over 40 years?!?! What if they are dead? Do I have to get a death certificate?)

personal details of all siblings; (I have one alive sibling and one dead sibling, same question applies as previous question.)

mother’s address one year prior to your birth; (Would my elderly parents even remember this; they've had 15 addresses since they got married.)

Please describe the circumstances of your birth including the names (as well as address and phone number, if available) of persons present or in attendance at your birth.” (If the doctor who delivered me was 50 years old at the time he'd be 105 now...)

any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. (again, my parents are in their 80s. And it was in another country, not the one where I was born.... Will pictures do?)

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."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But did tell my kids to collect this kind of stuff now because government NEVER goes back. Remember the temporary income tax? Of course you don't, that was 150 years ago.


lacochran's evil twin said...

Jeez Louise. I better get moving, my passport is due to expire this year.

Joy said...

Thank goodness mine is current! Good grief, 45 minutes? Like hell!

Big Shamu said...

I think this is a form for people who haven't had a passport before or who have trouble proving they are a citizen of this country. Most folks will still be using the short form.

froggy said...

Yes, it says 'some' passport applicants. I'm one of those people who would pop up, I think, due to the very, faint, very old copy of a copy of a copy of my birth certificate from a foreign country. The Engineer read online it has to have a raised seal.
I'm thinking I should try and apply now, before this all takes effect.

MakingSpace said...


This is a site where you can comment on the proposed form. Apparently the time for comments is up, but you could give it a try.

I'm not clear where this originated. Are people trying to claim U.S. citizenship by means of applying for passports? That just sounds - weird. I've spent a significant amount of time with undocumented workers, and I can't imagine a one of them doing ANYTHING to get on the U.S. government's radar that way.