OUR OPINION: License offers convenience AND security at border
Those were the days -- they days of zipping across the Canadian border while showing only a driver's license; the days when enjoying "the world's longest undefended border" was a point of binational pride. And in some ways, those days are gone fo...
Those were the days - they days of zipping across the Canadian border while showing only a driver’s license; the days when enjoying “the world’s longest undefended border” was a point of binational pride.
And in some ways, those days are gone forever. But in other ways …
Well, in other ways, they’re on their way back, at least in one vital respect.
And in Minnesota, they’ve already arrived.
The place in Minnesota where “the good old days” are back again is in the area of convenience. That’s because once again, Minnesotans now can cross the Canadian border using only their driver’s licenses - as long as those licenses are the special kind that satisfies the post-9/11 world’s security needs.
“Minnesota has joined four other border states in offering its residents enhanced driver’s licenses that can be used as passports for crossing U.S. borders,” Herald staff writer Ryan Bakken reported..
“Before 9/11, you needed just a driver’s license or a birth certificate,” said U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Brian King. “After 9/11, we required a passport to prove citizenship. An EDL also now proves citizenship, in lieu of a passport.
“It’s a good deal for people who don’t cross the border very often. It’s less expensive, too.”
“Other states offering EDLs are Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington.”
North Dakota, if it doesn’t already have plans to do so, should join the list.
The four other states that preceded Minnesota now have years of experience with EDLs. It would be easy enough to check with them to see if any problems (such as identity theft or any other concerns) have arisen.
But if the transitions have run smoothly and the new licenses have proven popular, then North Dakota should move to adopt them.
Traffic to and from Canada has become a key component of the Red River Valley’s growth. And a tool that can make crossings more convenient and reduce wait-times without sacrificing security is worth pursuing.
By the way, Manitoba drivers can cross at North Dakota border points using only the province’s enhanced driver’s license. North Dakota motorists should be given the same option.