Making it more work to visit Cozumel

Security is worth the inconvenience of requiring passports in North America.

In just a couple of years, it could take a bit more planning and approximately $100 to visit Canada, Mexico and Caribbean nations – because U.S. citizens will be required to have a passport to get back home.

The proposed changes from the federal government to tighten security have received mixed reviews. Some people in border cities are already complaining about the extra hassle, but in reality, the idea is probably a good one.

To get back into the United States after visiting one of our neighboring countries, one must only flash a driver’s license. Sometimes, citizens are asked to declare their nationality.

While the idea of open, friendly borders is appealing, requiring a passport will make it easier to keep track of the people coming in and out of the United States. Passports are very difficult to forge but relatively easy to obtain for legitimate U.S. citizens.

Currently, only approximately 20 percent of U.S. citizens have passports. While overseas travel clearly isn’t feasible for much of the population, it is unfortunate that so few people have experienced anything but life in this country.

Many Americans – including thousands of college students – go to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean Sea for vacations every year. Applying for a passport only expands travel options and opens doors to new cultures and experiences.

Requiring passports for “nearby” international travel is a legitimate way to increase security on otherwise less-secure borders.

The idea is not to limit legitimate travel for business or pleasure but to curb illegitimate travelers, such as terrorists trying to use one of several easy-access routes into the United States. This benefit is worth approximately $100 for U.S. citizens to obtain a passport and become members of the international community.