Meeting with senator on passport proposal open to all

Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman will be in International Falls on Saturday to meet with both elected officials and the general public about new passport regulations being proposed by the United States.
Residents from both sides of the border are invited to attend the meeting, which is slated to get underway at 3:50 p.m. at Rainy River Community College.
Fort Frances Mayor Dan Onichuk, by virtue of an invitation from International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason, is slated to speak at the hour-long meeting, but said he would welcome company from this side of the Rainy River.
“If anybody has got any input or ideas . . . providing [Sen. Coleman] with more ammunition or voicing our opinion as Borderland is absolutely a good thing,” Mayor Onichuk said.
Coleman, a Republican, has criticized the proposal, which would require anyone entering the U.S.—including Americans—to present a passport at the port-of-entry.
There is concern the new regulations would hamper tourism on both sides of the international bridge here.
“Sen. Coleman is opposed to this whole idea and he’s just looking for more ammunition,” Mayor Onichuk said. “We’ll certainly get our message across.”
While anybody is welcome to attend Saturday’s meeting, speakers, including Mayor Onichuk, already have been selected. It will not be an open forum.
The senator also will visit Baudette and Warroad on his whirlwind tour of the area.
Sen. Coleman is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.
Accompanying him during his tour through Borderland will be Anne Barrett, the managing director of passport services at the U.S. State Department.