Passport problem keeping many from summer trips

By: Paige Tebow Email
By: Paige Tebow Email

A nationwide passport application backlog is threatening to bring summer travel plans to a halt. Local Congressmen are urging the state department to take action, but for some locals it may be too late.

Legislators passed new passport regulations to make the country more secure. While the extra precautions are good for homeland security, it's causing headaches and costing taxpayer thousands of dollars.

Officials say the state department wasn't prepared to handle the high volume of applications, and it appears the problem is only going to get worse.

For Theresa Green, her family's trip to Bermuda was the vacation of a lifetime. It was to be a chance for her kids to see her birthplace, a graduation present for her two sons, and a first airplane ride for husband johnny.

"The children have family they have never met…it would be devastating if we don't get our passports."

They saved up money for months and applied for passports in February. But when the plane leaves Dallas on June 6th, the Greens may not be on board.

The passport application backlog has put the brakes on family vacations, destination weddings, and senior trips throughout the country.

The problem in our area is that all applications are processed through the Houston office.

Ever since January, citizens who travel by air overseas, including Mexico and Canada, must have a passport, and Houston employees can't keep up.

Senator Dan Boren sent a letter to the Secretary Of State on Wednesday urging her to open up a temporary office in Oklahoma City.

For the Greens, a trip to Houston isn't even an option because all appointment times are booked.

While time is running out, they are not giving up hope.

If you're in the same predicament as the Greens, Congressmen Tom Cole and Dan Boren urge you to give them a call.

Sometimes their leadership can expedite the process.

Those numbers are:

Congressman Tom Cole (Ada Office): (580) 436-5375 or Washington, D.C. Office (202) 225-6165

Congressman Dan Boren: (918) 341-9336

Congressman Ralph Hall (202) 546-5690

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  • by Jill Location: Texas on May 30, 2007 at 10:18 PM
    We have a trip scheduled for Friday June 1st. We ordered our passports on 4/28 and were assured by our application processor that they would be delivered within 4 weeks after paying $200 each to expedite. Well we are into our 5th week and no passports. We are not sure if we are going to make our trip to Mexico this Friday. Our vacation is non-refundable. No one answers the phone at the National Passport Center and it is impossible to get an appointment at the Houston Facility. This is an absolute fiasco.
  • by Melissa Location: Sherman on May 24, 2007 at 04:22 PM
    I just wanted to let you know that we have several people in our group that have still not recvd our passports. We we going to use our travel agent's person in Houston to help us for $75.00 per person to walk thru system but I found out that mine is in Charleston at an office that is not open to the Public. Called Congressman Hall last night at about 11:00 our time and he personally answered the phone. He told me to call his office in Sherman and Judy has been very helpful hope this works. This is my daughter's senior trip on June 4th.
  • by Martha Brown Location: Paris, Texas on May 24, 2007 at 02:19 PM
    We went through this recently. We were scheduled to fly to Mexico April 29, 2007. My husband applied 11 weeks before departure for his passport. It wasn't ready still on April 27. We were fortunate enough to get an appointment at the Houston office and got it on April 27, 2007, but we had to drive 1200 miles round trip to get it.
  • by Kay Location: Texas on May 24, 2007 at 07:38 AM
    Why cant't there be an office on the West Coast, the East Coast and in one of the Northern states? Surely Houston isn't the only place that can do something right!!!!.
  • by Joshua Location: Sherman on May 24, 2007 at 04:23 AM
    That's absolutely ridiculous. Can they not hire more people to help speed up this process ??
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