Relax, America: Forging A Passport Is Still Illegal In The US

| by Jonathan Wolfe

There have been some stories in the past few days, like this one, and this one, about how offenders would need to forge at least three passports before being punished for passport forgery under the new immigration reform bill.

While those stories make for nice headlines, there is one problem with them. They aren’t true.

The section being quoted recently is Section 3707 of the reform bill. The section states that anyone who “without lawful authority produces, issues, or transfers 3 or more passports; (2) forges, counterfeits, alters, or falsely makes 3 or more passports; (3) secures, possesses, uses, receives, buys, sells, or distributes 3 or more passports…shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

But Section 3707 only amends sections 1541 of US Code, which speaks specifically to the forging of multiple passports. It doesn't amend sections 1543 of US Code, which states that forging even one passport is a crime. So the new bill still leaves forging one passport a crime, it just changes the punishment for forging multiples.

Here is an excerpt from Section 1543 of US Code that states that forging even one passport is a punishable crime. This section is not changed in any way by the new immigration bill.

“Whoever falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, mutilates, or alters any passport or instrument purporting to be a passport, with intent that the same may be used… Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 25 years.”

So take heart, enraged internet commenters of the world. It’s still illegal to forge a passport in the good ol’ US of A. 

Sources: CSN News, Cain.TV, Cornell Law