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Homeland Security Chief Tours Peace Bridge

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security was in Buffalo Monday to soothe concerns over future passport requirements.

In a meeting at the Peace Bridge, Security Chief Michael Chertoff told top elected officials that secure drivers' licenses could be one option but only if states move quickly enough to implement the new technology. Chertoff says the new rule, requiring passports or federally compliant identification, will go into effect at all US border crossings by summer 2008.

Local elected officials say that would devastate the local economy. Chertoff says secure drivers licenses and passcards could satisfy all concerns.

"This is about finding a way forward that is reasonable but that is also secure," Chertoff said.

Beginning in January, until the stricter rules go into effect, travelers will need a birth certificate and drivers license to cross the border.