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Always an exception...
Published in Andy's Blog
Here’s an odd one that just came up, from a friend of a friend.
This is an era of Heightened Security and tightened border crossings. You must have your passport, you can’t carry a medium-sized tube of toothpaste into the US, and even soldiers carrying their M16 assault rifles on airplanes are relieved of their fingernail clippers, just in case things a crazed manicurist gets out of hand.
So true or false: if you are not a citizen of the US, you must have a passport to enter the US.
False. And here’s at least one intriguing exception.
The Micmac Indian tribe signed a treaty in 1796 which, among other things, declared the rights of indigenous peoples to travel—and trade—between the US and what is now Canada (it was a British territory at the time). That right became codified into law in the US in 1952, as part of the Immigration and Naturalization act.
The upshot is that today, Micmac indians may pass freely between the US and Canada, and can carry anything they please, including items that would normally be subject to taxation, etc., and do not have to carry a passport.
Now granted you usually don’t have to consider the ramifications of 200-year-old treaties when developing an application or gathering requirements.
But then again, there’s always an exception.
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