Despite new travel requirements, more than 2.3 million Americans reentering the country by land or sea from Mexico or Canada failed to produce a passport, birth certificate, or other secure document to establish identity and nationality, according to a report by the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security.
Most people, including about 500,000 in California, were allowed to pass through ports of entry without the approved documents or without being sent to a secondary inspection post for a more in-depth examination. Many travelers were allowed to pass after undergoing extensive questioning and producing at least a driver’s license, the report found. Overall, 96 percent of travelers arriving at the 39 busiest land ports were in compliance with the new law, which took effect in June 2009.
The audit concluded that if all those who skirted the rules were sent for a secondary inspection, the agency would not have the necessary staffing and infrastructure to handle the resulting increase in workload. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agreed with the report’s findings and plans to follow the Inspector General’s recommendations, an agency spokeswoman said.