Through agreement with CBP, Swinomish tribe begins issuing tribal card
SEATTLE — Through an agreement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), The Swinomish tribe began issuing Enhanced Tribal Cards (ETC) Feb. 6.
ETCs serve the mutual interests of CBP and the tribe by expediting and facilitating cross-border trade and travel for members of the tribe, as well as providing a tribally issued secure travel document to eligible tribal members.
The issuance of Enhanced Tribal Cards strengthens CBP’s commitment to work closely with our tribal partners and provides a secure, standardized identification document for tribal citizens to travel across our borders. The ETC helps ensure border security while protecting the tribe’s rights and limiting impacts to their culture.
The Swinomish Tribe worked very closely with CBP to develop a secure, highly tamper resistant card that is an acceptable stand-alone Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant document. Swinomish travelers arriving from a contiguous territory or the adjacent islands can use the ETC for entry into the United States at all land and sea ports of entry by. WHTI allows all U.S. federally recognized tribes to work with CBP to produce an ETC. The Swinomish Tribe will be the seventh U.S. federally recognized tribe approved to issue ETCs.
In 2004, Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, which created the WHTI. In the WHTI Land/Sea Final Rule, published April 3, 2008, DHS allowed federally recognized tribes to work with CBP to produce an ETC, denoting citizenship and identity that is acceptable for entry into the United States through a port of entry.
Under the provisions of WHTI, each interested U.S. tribe will develop a secure photo identification document issuable to the tribe’s legitimate members who could be either U.S. or Canadian citizens. CBP electronically verifies these documents at ports of entry. As of June 9, 2011, the ETC became an acceptable standalone WHTI-compliant document for entry into the United States at all land and sea ports of entry.
Modeled after passport and enhanced driver license business processes, ETCs have machine-readable facilitative technologies, contain security features to prevent counterfeiting, and allow data sharing between tribes and CBP for real-time validation.
WHTI single-documentation options for all U.S. and Canadian travelers include: U.S. or Canadian passport, U.S. passport card, Trusted Traveler card (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST), state or provincial enhanced driver’s license, ETC , U.S. military I.D. with orders, U.S. Merchant Mariner document, Form I-872 American Indian Card, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Card and Secure Certificate of Indian Status.
The Kootenai Tribe of Idaho was the first tribe to sign a memorandum of agreement with CBP in March 2009 to begin the process of creating a secure travel document denoting identity, tribal membership and citizenship.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.