Earlier this year, C.G.P Grey crunched some numbers to find out the approximate percentage of people in each state who owned passports. Alabama was fourth from the bottom, with only 25.03% of its residents owning passports. That may change shortly, as Alabama’s strict new immigration law has many Hispanic US citizens applying for passport services so that they have portable proof of citizenship to carry around.
According to NPR, “Alabama’s law, which takes effect Sept. 1, allows police to arrest anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant if the person is stopped for some other reason. It also requires businesses to check the legal status of new workers and requires schools to report the immigration status of students.”
So, basically, if you’re a US citizen whom the police could possibly perceive as “foreign,” you really do need to carry something around at all times proving that you are a citizen. Sure, as long as you’re legal, the police would have to release you once they verified your citizenship, but who wants to risk being arrested every time they leave the house?
According to local NBC affiliate WSFA.com, the number of people applying for passport services spiked in the months after the law was passed. Montgomery Postmaster Donnie Snipes told WSFA that while his post office typically only handles about 300 applications each month, “496 were completed in June, of which 58% were minor children.” Many applicants were Hispanic, especially the children, as immigrant parents rushed to protect their US-born children with as much documentation as possible.
According to Post Office employee Bubba Adams, “I think it hit us all at one time. I don’t think we were expecting that drastic, but at times, it was pretty hectic.”
The law becomes effective on September 1st, so the number of applicants in Alabama may continue to be higher than usual throughout the summer, as people rush to get the document before the deadline.
It generally takes about 6 weeks for the Department of State to issue a new passport after the passport application is sent in. Expedited service costs an additional $60 and cuts the processing time down to three weeks.
If you need your passport sooner than that because you have an international trip planned, there are other alternatives. You can apply for passport services at one of the 24 regional passport agency offices in the United States, though this requires an appointment and may require extensive travel depending on where you live. Or, you can submit your application using a private expediting company like RushMyPassport. We carry your application right to the Department of State for lightning-fast processing, often in as little as 24 hours.
For fast passport services with minimal hassle, contact us today!