State Department

Ignoring massive public opposition, and despite having recently admitted that it is already using the “proposed” forms illegally without approval, the State Department is trying again to get approval for a pair of impossible-to-complete new passport application forms that would, in effect, allow the State Department to deny you a passport simply by choosing to send you either or both of the new “long forms.”

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While we passengers are all but dropping our drawers to get on a airplane in the name of security, the passport office is issuing passports to bogus citizens with obvious ID problems. It was all part of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) sting.

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A lost or stolen driver’s license or passport can be a disaster for a traveler trying to fly home. Ned Levi has suggestions to successfully handle these serious ID problems with a little pre-trip preparation, and a lot of common sense.

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I just read a disheartening story about the Haitian relief efforts. With thousands of Haitians and other citizens crowding around the Port au Prince airport, relief plans are returning back to the U.S. and other destinations with hundreds of empty seats, because there are no metal scanners and security programs in place to process these earthquake victims.

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Midwife-delivered Latino Americans born in the Southwest continued to be unable to obtain a passport even after supplying countless extra documentation. Ned Levi has heard from those who have been affected, and updates us on this serious problem.

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When it comes to travel, forbidden is in. Cuba, Iran and North Korea — long off-limits to most American visitors — might be added to the “allowed” list under an Obama administration. Other destinations that were considered too dangerous or hostile to Americans are becoming fashionable again as travelers jettison boring “staycations” for something more exotic.

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By now, you’ve probably heard about the anti-government protests in Thailand which have closed Bangkok’s airports. Yesterday the US State Department issued a Travel Alert for US citizens traveling or residing in Thailand, asking every citizen there to register with the State Department, or contact the US Embassy in Bangkok directly.

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The State Department has issued a strongly-worded Travel Alert for US citizens traveling and living in Mexico. Bottom line: next time you go south of the border, you have to be street smart.

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For untold numbers of Latinos born in the Southwest who were delivered by midwives, obtaining a passport has become almost an impossibility, according to a class action suit filed by the ACLU on September 9th. The suit alleges the State Department is sending this group of passport applicants on a “scavenger hunt” and when presented with requested additional documentation, denying the applications anyway.

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The State Department on Monday updated its travel alert for Mexico, which was issued in October 2007, to warn U.S. tourists of ongoing border violence.

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