CATTARAUGUS/ALLEGANY TERRITORIES SENECA NATION OF INDIANS, May 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Since 2009, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires U.S. and Canadian travelers, including Seneca Nation members, to present a passport or other WHTI-approved document that denotes identity and citizenship when entering the U.S. at land or sea borders while traveling within the western hemisphere. A result of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), the goal of WHTI is to facilitate entry while strengthening U.S. border security. Standard documents enable the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to quickly and reliably identify a traveler.
Pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement the Seneca Nation entered into with DHS, the Nation began accepting enrollment applications in early May for the WHTI-compliant Enhanced Tribal Identification Card (ETC) to Senecas who can prove identity, Nation citizenship and recognized U.S. or Canadian citizenship.
"This is a very new and innovative program that the Nation has been working on for many years as an exclusive benefit to our members to continue the protection of our sovereign rights," said Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder, Sr. "The Seneca Nation will be just the third Indian tribe in the country to issue ETCs. Professionals in the Seneca Nation's Clerk's Office (ETC-authorized staff) have been specially-trained to administer this program, answer questions of our members and, most importantly, protect the private information of each of our applicants."
An ETC can be used instead of a passport or EDL when returning to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, and some countries in the Caribbean by land or sea. An ETC is not acceptable for international air travel, but can be used as proof of identity to board a domestic flight. An ETC can also reduce the amount of time it takes to go through customs, since DHS has designated it for use in the "Ready Lane" at certain land border ports of entry, including the Peace Bridge. Members can still obtain non-ETC, or regular tribal ID, cards for general identification purposes. However, those cards will no longer be accepted by DHS for purposes of identity and citizenship when crossing the border. Members are not restricted from obtaining both an ETC and a regular tribal ID (non-ETC) card.
The program is being administered in partnership with MorphoTrust®, a leading U.S. provider of identity solutions to federal, state, sovereign and local governments that simplify, protect and secure the lives of citizens.
"We applaud the Seneca Nation for advancing the sovereignty of its members by partnering with MorphoTrust to secure this highly trusted and sophisticated credentialing solution," said MorphoTrust CEO Bob Eckel. "Their ingenuity not only benefits their members, but paves the way for other small population groups to leverage advanced technology to obtain the most secure IDs in a manageable and affordable way."
Due to the secure process of obtaining an ETC, enrollment must be made in-person at the Nation's ETC Office located within the Clerk's Office at either the Allegany or Cattaraugus locations. Applicants are required to make an appointment to submit the application and mandatory identification documentation, undergo an interview, and submit to both a facial image and digital signature capture. This is an elective program and not mandatory for Nation members. The Seneca Nation Clerk's Office can be reached at either (716) 532-4900 or (716) 945-1790.
About MorphoTrust® USA
MorphoTrust® USA (Safran) is a leading U.S. provider of identity solutions to federal, state and local governments that simplify protect and secure the lives of Americans. The company's offerings help to verify the identity of applicants and deliver the secure credentials that individuals rely on to exercise their civil rights, gain access to benefits and services, and ensure trusted transactions while reducing fraud and enhancing national security. The company delivers solutions for secure ID issuance such as U.S. driver licenses and passports as well as for border management, law enforcement, retail, travel and applicant vetting through document authentication, data verification and biometrics (iris, fingerprints and face). We serve many U.S. federal agencies and businesses, operating in all 50 U.S. states. The company also has a nationwide network of ID service centers, with approximately 1,100 convenient locations. MorphoTrust was named the 2013 North American Company of the Year for Government Biometrics by Frost & Sullivan.
CONTACT: SUSAN ASQUITH 716.464.4703
SOURCE Seneca Nation of Indians