A rather alarming report, detailed in the Los Angeles Times, shows that new travel restrictions requiring passports for American citizens to reenter the country are not being enforced.

These are American citizens, so perhaps we should not get too excited about the report, but it still makes you wonder about travel enforcement in general. Here are excerpts from the article:

Despite new travel requirements, more than 2.3 million Americans reentering the country by land or sea from Mexico or Canada failed to produce a passport, birth certificate or other secure document to establish identity and nationality, a government review has found.

Most people, including about 500,000 in California, were allowed to pass through ports of entry without the approved documents or without being sent to a secondary inspection post for a more in-depth examination, according to the report by the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security.

Many travelers were allowed to pass after undergoing extensive questioning and producing at least a driver’s license, the report found. Overall, 96% of travelers arriving at the 39 busiest land ports were in compliance with the new law, which took effect in June 2009.

The procedure for processing those without the required documents needs to be more precise and implemented across the board, the report said.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, approved by Congress last year, requires U.S. travelers reentering the country from Mexico or Canada to present documents, such as a passport or birth certificate, to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers.

Out of more than 1 million people, including U.S. and foreign citizens, who legally enter the United States each day, about three-fourths arrive by land from Mexico or Canada, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.