SEATTLE — Through an agreement with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation will begin issuing Enhanced Tribal Cards (ETC) Monday.
ETCs serve the mutual interests of CBP and the tribes 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 our commitment to work closely with our tribal partners and provides a secure, standardized identification document for tribal citizens to travel across our borders,” CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello said. “The ETC helps ensure border security while protecting the tribes’ rights and limiting impacts to their culture.”
The Colville Tribes have 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. The ETC can be used for entry into the United States at all land and sea ports of entry by Colville travelers arriving from a contiguous territory or the adjacent islands. WHTI allows all U.S. Federally Recognized Tribes to work with CBP to produce an ETC. The Colville Tribes will be the sixth U.S. federally recognized tribes approved to issue ETCs. Another 12 tribes have a signed Memorandum of Agreement with CBP to develop an ETC.
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 all U.S. federally recognized Tribes to work with CBP to produce an ETC, denoting citizenship and identity that could be accepted 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 to be issued only to the tribe’s legitimate members who could be either U.S. or Canadian citizens. These documents can be electronically verified by CBP 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.
Enhanced tribal cards are modeled after the passport and enhanced driver license business processes. These cards 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.