New Law Would End Passport Outsourcing

June 3, 2008 – The IAM/National Federation of Federal Employees (IAM/NFFE) is endorsing H.R. 5752, legislation that would end the foreign manufacture of U.S. passports and require the travel and identity documents be manufactured in the United States. 

H.R. 5752 was introduced in the House of Representatives after it was revealed that the Government Printing Office (GPO) had outsourced the manufacturing and assembly of the U.S. passport book cover and security components to a company operating in Europe and Thailand.

The news that passport book covers had been outsourced to foreign companies was met with widespread outrage in editorial pages and blogs. A March 28, 2008, Washington Times Editorial stated that the “annals of incompetent federal empire-building have a new entry: the Government Printing Office’s e-Passport program.”  The Times called this a “disastrous, almost incomprehensible failure” in passport security, noting that “[t]he assembler and patent-holder, Netherlands-based Smartrac Technology Ltd., ‘divulged in … October 2007 … that China had stolen its patented chip technology for e-passport chips’.”  The Times argued that “[b]lank passports are a free ticket to entry into the United States.” 

“The off-shoring of this critical government function is absolutely shocking,” said Colin Walle, president of IAM/NFFE Local 1998, a nationwide passport local.  “We go to great lengths to ensure the integrity of the U.S. Passport.  It makes no sense to open a Pandora’s Box of safety concerns by manufacturing passport books and security features in foreign countries.”

Passage of H.R. 5752 would address these concerns by requiring that U.S. passports be manufactured domestically. For more information, visit

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