Passport madness

I don’t know wtf is wrong with the Obama administration (or I just don’t have time to type it all out), but if you need a passport, the State Department is about to try to make it MUCH harder to get one.

Tonight (April 25) at midnight is the deadline to provide comments for or against this new questionnaire. The actual proposed questionnaire is here.

I’ve never been out of the US, but I have friends in London I’d like to visit. My partner would like to visit the British Library for academic reasons. With this in place, we may not be able to.

That is, indeed, madness. Please describe the circumstances of your birth? Vaginal, motherfucker.

I wouldn’t sweat it, Jerri.

It seems likely that only some, not all, applicants will be required to fill out the new questionnaire, but no criteria have been made public for determining who will be subjected to these additional new written interrogatories.

It sounds like it only applies to brown people.

Everything on page 2 is outright madness. Mother’s employer at time of birth? Address a year before and a year after? My mother’s been dead for over 10 years, and I doubt she would be able to answer any of those questions.

And coming from a guy who won’t produce his own birth certificate? Hypocrisy!

Seriously, however, looking at that form… all my residences, jobs and schools since birth?

Still doesn’t make sense in a lot of ways. For example, religious ceremonies that were conducted at or around your birth? Really? How does knowing whether Habib or Juan or whoever was baptized even remotely relate to anything having to do with passports? At what point in any investigatory process is the question, “Yo - who was at your christening, mothafucka?” helpful? Does a monkey waving you at Africa count as a religious ritual? Because that’s what I’d say. And then I wouldn’t get a passport. This is another news story that’s just baffling to me because it’s not even evil - it’s just stupid.

Brazil? Is that you?

This has to be some sort of stunt to prove a point for someone. No way this goes through, this is sheer insanity. If it does go through, it gives the next wave of hopefuls something to campaign on - passport application reform!

It’s for a chilling effect. I hate to say it this way but I can’t think of any other way or reason: whoever proposed this doesn’t want people of a certain type traveling outside of the country. The reason behind that I can only speculate upon, and I can’t come up with anything that doesn’t sound tinfoil-hat in my head.

The best part would be if the government could technically prosecute you for making false statements if you got something wrong.

Can’t get a passport unless you’ve got a form 27B stroke 6.

In the event this isn’t some kind of highly involved horrible hoax, I suppose that a large percentage of applications will answer the page 2 questions “unknown” or “n/a”. But it really is insane.

My assumption would be that this is data mining not for the sake of litigation but rather for the purpose of creating a profile for any subsequent interrogations. Namely, it’s a bunch of pointless bullshit to trip you up on, extend your detention period where they sort out whether you lied or simply forgot exactly how many goats were sacrificed at the ceremonial cutting of the umbilical cord when you were born.

I don’t know how much it matters, but I think it is important register your comments if you object, especially if you don’t sound like a deranged conspiracy theorist when you do it. I’m in the process of renewing my passport and it’s a fairly painless process; why fuck up one of the few remaining aspects of American travel that isn’t garbage already?

The questions about the circumstances of your birth appear to be applicable only if you weren’t born in a hospital and didn’t get a birth certificate within a year of being born, but still.

As for remembering all addresses, there’s no way. My parents don’t remember them either, I can guarantee it, and most of our family’s documents and photos were destroyed in a flood in Oklahoma in 1973.

Note that the stuff on page 2 that people are objecting to only applies to the tiny percentage that were born outside of a hospital and didn’t go to a hospital soon after and so have no birth certificate issued within a year of their birth on file. I’d guess that 99 out of 100 people who claim this status are in fact trying to get a passport fraudulently, so it is appropriate to ask for this information. As for the remainder (Amish who wish to travel outside the country?) they probably have the sort of family/community ties that make answering this form possible.

The complete work history part is definitely annoying, though.

Yeah, the work thing for me is problematic, because most of the places I’ve worked at have gone out of business.

The residence thing is the hardest for me. Sure, I went to 4 elementary schools, 2 junior highs, and a high school (not to mention a couple kindergartens and pre-schools). Oh, and 4 colleges. And I’ve had a dozen or so jobs (one place I only worked at for 3 days). But just with my parents I lived in 5 places, and since moving out on my own… well, I got a new apartment at least every year from the age of 19 to 30. I’ll need about 18 lines just for my residences, and I know I can’t remember them all.

It seems likely that they aren’t going to background check the information you put on there, but rather they will file it away for if/when you become a terror suspect. Then, as was mentioned earlier, your verbal answers better match what they have on file…

Your birth certificate lists your mother’s residence a year before you were born and a year afterward, as well as the name and address of her employer? Because mine doesn’t. I suppose you might hope her address listed at time of birth was the same, but it wasn’t for my parents - they moved around a lot when they were younger. And the only space it allows for “occupation” was my father’s, and doesn’t have his employer’s address, let alone hers.

No, the birth certificate doesn’t have this information-- but if you have a birth certificate, you don’t need to provide it. It’s to provide some means of verification for people who don’t have state-issued birth certificates. If you have one, you can skip the entire page.