Congress has extended a controversial Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative deadline by 17 months, making June 1, 2009, the new
deadline by which people traveling by land or sea from the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Mexico, and Canada must have a passport or other accepted document to enter or re-enter the United States. However, a January 23, 2007, deadline requiring passports for people
traveling by air still stands.
Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, proposed
an amendment pushing for the extension because of fears that cross-border trade and tourism between the United States and Canada would suffer with the earlier target date. Travel and tourism organizations such as the Travel Industry Association of America also feared that the technology behind the implementation of the PASS Card system would not be in place by the deadline.