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New U.S. border ID Rules Begin Today
By Sam Yousif :: Thursday, January 31, 2008 :: 54836 Views :: Law & Order, Government & Society

Michigan, USA - Chaldeans will have to contend with tighter U.S. Border crossings as new rules go into affect today.  The new rules for the types of identification U.S. and Canadian citizens must present to cross into the country will require more documentation. 

Authorities were optimistic the changes wouldn't cause significant delays. Under the new rules, anyone crossing the border will no longer be allowed to simply declare to immigration officers at border crossings that they are citizens.

Instead, those 19 and older will have to show proof of citizenship -- a passport, trusted traveler card or a birth certificate and government-issued ID such as a driver's license.

Detroit, the busiest northern border crossing, saw no additional waits, said Ron Smith, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection in Detroit. The bridge and tunnel crossings between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario typically can see wait times of about 30 minutes to enter the U.S.  "Everything has been running really smoothly," he said.

Officers at the ports will have latitude to admit people who are unaware of the changes once their identities are confirmed, Ahern said. In Detroit, authorities will provide a grace period for travelers without the extra ID, and will hand out fliers explaining the changes, Smith said.

"The first couple of days, weeks maybe, could add a few seconds to the inspection process. But once people become aware of these requirements, and we're getting the word out to them ... those minor delays should disappear," Smith said.

The new rules came about after congress approved the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative in 2004, which requires verified citizenship and identification of all those entering the country from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The passport requirement for land and sea crossings has been delayed until June 2009.

Chaldeans wishing to cross into Mexico will also be affected.  Last week, Mexican tourism officials in Tijuana introduced a "Get Your Passport" campaign that gives U.S. passport holders discounts at restaurants and shops.

Jason Kizzy of San Diego said he will stop going to Mexico until he replaces his birth certificate. He has an old photocopy but worries it won't pass muster with inspectors.

The new passport cards the size of credit cards will allow citizens to cross the U.S.-Mexican border effectively and efficiently. Applications should be available starting Friday, although processing will take three to four months. Cards without previously issued passports will cost $45 for adults and $35 for children; they will cost $20 and $10, respectively, for those with passports.

Drivers' licenses enhanced with proof of citizenship and a radio frequency identification chip also will be accepted, Ahern added. Four states including Arizona have signed up for a federal program to offer the licenses.

For more information please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at http://www.cbp.gov/


St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.