Long lines persist in Santa Clara County for passports

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 07:18PM
Some people have been trying for weeks to get new passports in Santa Clara County.

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Some people have been trying for weeks to get new passports in Santa Clara County. There are several of factors that could be contributing to the long lines.

One of the reasons is that some feel President Trump's immigration order is creating anxiety and urgency for new passports. Also, 10 years ago, the U.S. started requiring passports for travel to Canada and Mexico, and now those are expired so there's a flood of renewals and another factor may just be an uptick in travel, no matter what the reason, it's been a very frustrating experience for travelers who need their passports.

At 2 a.m. Monday, people started lining up at San Jose's post office on Branham Lane to get passports.

San Jose resident Marcella Ruiz is trying to get passports for her family so they can visit her father in Canada, who is seriously ill. She has visited and called passport centers all over San Jose and San Francisco and continues to be turned away because the lines are too long.

"I had a pretty big breakdown the day that I went to Eastridge Mall because I couldn't take the rejection again of not getting another passport that day," said Ruiz.

Most passport centers in Santa Clara County can only process 20-30 passports each day, so people who line up, aren't guaranteed service.

"It's very irritating because there are things to do, people have jobs, you want to get done with this and move along," said Sarah Manuel, San Jose resident.

"Evidently they're not able to get in at the local post offices and other areas that do it," Wardell House Jr., Santa Clara County Recorder's Office.

Wardell House Jr. works at the Santa Clara County Recorder's Office where they process passports by appointment only. He is aware of the passport backup at other locations.

"Why now in February 2017 is there a rush on passports?" asked ABC7's Kate Larsen.

"That is a question I do not have an answer for," said Wardell House Jr.

If you're in Santa Clara County, Wardell House Jr., recommends making an appointment at the Recorder's Office, but you need to give yourself time. They've been so busy appointments are at least one month out and then it takes another 2-6 weeks to process your passport.

The State Department issued this statement regarding passports: In 2016, PPT/SF designated seven new acceptance facilities throughout Northern California to address the increasing demand for passport services including Mono County, Alameda, Alviso (San Jose area), Burlingame, Sacramento, Modesto, and Truckee. New acceptance facilities are opening in Merced and Stockton in the next 1-2 months, and PPT/SF has been speaking with officials from a potential acceptance site in Santa Clara County. The agency has also reached out to a local Congressional office and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for acceptance site suggestions in the San Jose area, in addition to the agency's own research for potential sites. PPT/SF continues to search for ways to strengthen the acceptance facility program and will not stop until timely customer service is provided in all necessary regions within Northern and Central California. Complete information on acceptance facility locations and hours of operation can be located at travel.state.gov.

Click here for more information about passport requirements and appointments.
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