New requirements for passports, another small step towards tyranny

Summary:  You cannot slowly boil a free frog, but you can slowly fry a Republic, if its people have lost their vigilance and will to govern themselves. It’s a matter of a thousand small steps, whittling away their protections and liberties. Today we examine one such small step, concerning the vital right to free travel.

Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis, Chapter 12 (1959)

You expect ME to trust YOU to rule yourselves?


  1. The story; ugly bad news reposted from Papers, Please
  2. Others sound the alarm
  3. About The Identity Project (IDP)
  4. Background information about passports
  5. For More Information
  6. See our leader and cheer!

Please pass this on to other people!

(1)  The story, ugly bad news

State Dept. admits passport form was illegal, but still wants it approved
Reposted from Papers Please website of The Identity Project
24 September 2012

The new U.S. passport application forms are back, worse than ever.

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”.

Early last year, the State Department proposed a new “Biographical Questionnaire” for passport applicants, which would have required anyone selected to receive the new long-form DS-5513 to answer bizarre and intrusive personal trivia questions about everything from whether you were circumcised (and if so, with what accompanying religious rituals) to the dates of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments, your parents’ addresses one year before you were born, every address at which you have ever resided, and your lifetime employment history including the names and phone numbers of each of your supervisors at every job you have ever held.


The threat is seldom this obvious!

Most people would be unable to complete the proposed new form no matter how much time and money they invested in research. Requiring someone to complete Form DS-5513 would amount to de facto denial of their application for a passport — which, as we told the State Department, appeared to be the point of the form.

The State Department’s notice of the proposal in the Federal Register didn’t include the form itself.

After we published the proposed Form DS-5513, the story went viral and more than 3,000 public comments objecting to the proposal were filed with the State Department in the final 24 hours of the comment period.

After that fiasco, the State Department went dark for several months, and claimed that they would “revise” the form. But they didn’t give up, and apparently they didn’t listen to (or didn’t care) what they had been told by members of the public in our comments.

The State Department is now seeking approval for a (slightly) revised Form DS-5513 as well as a new Form DS-5520, also for passport applicants, containing many of the same questions.

The State Department no longer wants you to tell the passport examiner about the circumstances of your circumcision, but does still want to know the dates and locations of all of your mother’s pre- and post-natal medical appointments, how long she was hospitalized for your birth, and a complete list of everyone who was in the room when you were born. The revised forms no longer ask for all the addresses at which you have lived, but only for those addresses you are least likely to know: all the places you lived from birth until age 18.

If she can fight back, so can we!

And so on, as you can see for yourself on the proposed Form DS-5513 and Form DS-5520.

(2)  Others sound the alarm

(3)  Background information about passports

From Wikipedia (somewhat paraphrased):

Passports had been used for centuries in many other countries,but the first use of a passport-like document in the US was during The War Of Independence in 1775.

From 1789 through late 1941 the US government required passports of citizens only during the American Civil War (1861–1865), although it lacked statutory authority. The Travel Control Act of May 1918 permitted the president, when the US was at war, to proclaim a passport requirement (war was declared on 18 August 1918).  This  requirement remained effective until March 1921.

In the 1920s, the League of Nations attempted to produce standard guidelines for all Passports, but was not able to accomplish this until much later. It was these guidelines; however, that helped shape current standards.

World War II again led to passport requirements under the Travel Control Act of 1918.  A 1978 amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 made it illegal to enter or depart the United States without an issued passport even in peacetime.

If she can win, so can we!

Also see “A brief history of the passport, from a royal letter to a microchip“, Leo Benedictus, The Guardian, 16 November 2006.

(4)  About The Identity Project (IDP)

The right to travel freely in their own country is a right that has been taken by Americans as their birthright.  This right is basic, fundamental, and necessary for the free exercise of many of our other protected rights.  Identity-based domestic security programs condition our mobility to freely assemble, associate, speak, and exchange ideas upon the government’s permission to do so.

Demands on citizens to ‘show their ID’ have spread from airports to all major forms of long distance domestic public transport.  Some of these ID security programs check people against secret government lists.  Some of these programs are simply tests of the traveler’s obedience.  Dissent through public protest is in danger of being chilled by the fear of ending up on government lists.  We are witnessing the advent of a national ID card, passed by Congress as the Real ID Act of 2005 (see Wikipedia; signed by Bush in 2005).

With private data aggregators being used for ‘national security’ purposes; and the ability to use technology to consolidate a wealth of personal information on citizens and have it accessed by both governmental and private agencies, the right to be left alone is under serious threat.

IDP shines a spotlight on these serious issues.  They are part of the First Amendment Project, a 501(c)(3) public charity.  Donations are tax deductible.

(5)  For More Information

(a)  The good news:

  1. A third American regime will arise from the ashes of the present one, 30 March 2010

(b)  Milestones on the path to tyranny:

  1. Fear the enemies within America more than those outside, 21 December 2011
  2. Some foes of the Republic revealed themselves by sponsoring the Enemy Expatriation Act, 20 January 2012
  3. With a stroke of his pen President Hope and Change erased much of America, 20 March 2012
  4. Thomas Jefferson saw our present peril. We should heed his warning., 21 April 2012
  5. We’re drifting towards tyranny, again. Jefferson describes our first brush with tyranny., 28 April 2012

(6)  See our leader and cheer!

Presidents Bush Jr and Obama show that we’re suckers for cheap imitations of strong leaders, easily fooled by puppets of our elites. But the 1% will improve their manufacturing skills until they produce a figurehead we will love and obey.


He’s here to save us! Cheer and applaud!


8 thoughts on “New requirements for passports, another small step towards tyranny”

  1. A look at the proposed forms convinces me that they have exactly one blatant purpose: keeping tabs on US citizens either born in a foreign country, or born from foreign parents, and whose country of origin is “suspect”.

    In particular, it appears that the absurd details to fill in constitute information that is

    (a) inaccessible through other channels under the supervision of the government: e.g. “Were you born in a hospital?” — I deduce that hospital records are easy to retrieve and check by the government;

    (b) inaccessible because they might have been recorded, but only in a foreign country: e.g. all these lists of schools and residence addresses “inside and outside the USA”;

    (c) because they single the applicant out as one of the aforementioned categories: I suspect few Americans are born outside a hospital — but this is quite common in third-world countries, and this means answering four additional sections (notice that the form actually specifies “fill sections 1-5”, but there are only 1-4); and section 3 explicits states “If your parents were not U.S. citizens at the time of your birth”.

    In essence, these forms tell us four things:

    1. The government wants to know in detail where people have been and with whom they are associated.
    2. Since this information is not explicitly required in some cases, then conversely it simply means that this information is _already_ available to the government in those cases.
    3. Furthermore, the questions asked in the other (more normal 5520) form give a good idea of the information the government still cannot get easily — there is no federal register of residence or employment.
    4. The government basically wants to figure out the context of life (where, who, when, what) of that citizen of Pakistani/Somali/Iranian/etc origin (even 2nd or 3rd generation) who wants to travel abroad — who knows, he might want to visit a terrorist training camp.

    The fact that the government reissues draft in the same tenor is a confirmation of my views, I believe.

    Quite distressing about what it reveals about the current state of mind in the USA. Completely corroborates you (long) series of posts on the topic.

    1. From reading the forms myself it seems that they are at least meant to be used in cases where the applicant does not have access to proofs of citizenship such as birth certificates and thus might need to provide enough circumstantial evidence to be granted a passport. I know that some of these questions are already asked of people who loose their passports in a foreign country and need new emergency ones but perhaps they are trying to expand the questioning to the public at large to gather more data on them, especially as guest points out, in the case of naturalized citizens.

  2. Pingback: New requirements for passports, another small step towards tyranny … | US Passport

  3. I can’t seem to find anything wrong with the forms. I think it is nice to have other ways to prove citizenship if you don’t have an actual birth certificate. In fact it would be horrible if that was all they accepted.

    1. DAB’s comment is important, evidence that every step toward tyranny will receive applause. Unlike the fantasy stories of the Right, rights are most often lost through passivity and disinterest than Brownshirts or the Airborne marching down our streets.

  4. I just don’t see how loosening the requirements for a passport can be a bad thing as long as they don’t get loosened too much. They apparently will even allow you to use church circumcision documentation! Isn’t that a good thing?

    At least then you would be able to get a passport if that’s all you had.

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