NPT DC: El Paso will get one of 5 new U.S. passport offices
Sorry folks, this one came in yesterday. Here it is:
REYES ANNOUNCES EL PASO ONE OF FIVE CITIES IN THE U.S. TO RECEIVE NEW PASSPORT ISSUING AGENCY
Over $2 Million in Federal Funding Made Possible Through The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), today announced that the U.S. Department of State will allocate $2,150,000 to establish the full first Passport Agency in El Paso. This new facility will be the first full-service Passport Agency in El Paso, with the capacity to not only accept passport applications but also issue passport books and passport cards. Currently, only 21 such Passport Agencies exist in the United States and local residents who need expedited service are served out of the Passport Agency in Houston. Passport Agencies are separate from the over 9400 Passport Application Acceptance Facilities in the United States that accept passport applications but do not issue passports or passport cards. El Paso is one of only five cities in the U.S. receiving a new Passport Agency.
“With the new travel rules that will soon require all U.S. citizens crossing into Mexico to have a passport or passport card, we need an agency right here in our own community with the capacity to issue these critical documents,” Congressman Reyes said. “This facility is long overdue, and I am pleased to see yet another great project for the El Paso community through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”
In April 2007, Congressman Reyes wrote a letter to the then-Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Maura Hartly requesting the Department of State to establish a satellite passport office in El Paso to accommodate the expected increase in demand for passports as a result of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) that takes effect June 1, 2009. U.S. citizens returning home from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, by land or sea, will be required to present a U.S. passport, a U.S. passport card, or a frequent traveler card such as the SENTRI card, for re-entry.
This new Agency will offer El Pasoans a convenient means to obtain a passport in emergency/urgent situations. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is currently working with the Department of State to determine an appropriate site for the new El Paso Passport Agency, which is tentatively scheduled to open in May 2010.
“I strongly encourage those El Pasoans who have not yet obtained a passport or a passport card and plan on traveling to Mexico after June 1 to apply for one immediately,” Congressman Reyes added.