Lose Your Mobility Rights for Under $1 Billion


In January, Jim Harper reminds us, DHS began requiring that all travelers show a passport when traveling to the United States from areas within the western hemisphere. This was odd for a number of reasons, even by the warped standards of security theater. For one, as Bruce Schneier pointed out at the time, ferries would be temporarily excluded–presumably on the theory that bad men eschew sea travel. For another, no one understood how passport offices were going to handle the influx of applications. (It turned out that they couldn't, so regulations were temporarily eased.) Now the State Department reveals that the new travel rules will cost $1 billion, give or take:

New travel rules that swamped passport offices and frustrated U.S. travelers this summer will cost the government an estimated $944 million over three years, according to federal paperwork filed Wednesday.

The department initially figured it would cost $289 million between budget years 2006 and 2008 to handle the boost in demand for passports created by post-9/11 security measures passed by Congress and implemented by the Homeland Security Department.

That obviously doesn't include the costs of lost cross-border commerce, here and abroad.

A gold star to any commenter who can figure out how this will thwart the evildoers.