Passport issuance used to control people and borders

The U.S. government has begun to tie the issuance of passports to tax issues and issues of debt. But, Canada is getting on this act as well.

From Canada:


The father of one needs a visa to work in the United States. Sanders said he can’t get one because of his enduring lack of success in obtaining a Canadian passport.

An expatriate Montrealer, Sanders said this week that the province of Quebec — not the federal government — holds the key to solving his passport problem. The province has put a stop to his quest until he settles a debt.

He said due to his inability to pay $9,000 to get a passport, he’s out of luck. Sanders said he’s been told by the Quebec government he’s in arrears for child support and alimony payments from 2003 to 2005.

Sanders said he’s at least $18,000 in arrears, an amount boosted by compound interest and fees. He said his passport refusal would be rescinded if he pays half.

Living without a passport for 10 years, Sanders said he’s been driving across the border using a Nexus card issued in 2009. Such a card helps speed the border clearance process for low-risk, pre-approved travellers into Canada and the U.S.

Sanders said he didn’t need a passport to get the card five years ago but does now because of a policy change.

From the United States:

Wyden’s proposal also would require the Secretary of State to revoke passports for delinquent taxpayers. Current law allows the State Department to refuse to issue or renew a passport if an applicant owes child support in excess of $2,500 or certain types of federal debts, but does not extend to tax delinquency.





1 thought on “Passport issuance used to control people and borders

  1. Petros

    Mobility rights are recognized by human rights codes as fundamental. Let’s see if governments can make voting contingent upon paying debts or a clean tax bill.


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