An online petition seeking to have President Kenyatta order the processing of e-passport biometrics at the Kenya’s consulate in Los Angeles, California has been launched.
The petition started by Paddy Mwembu at Change.org has gained the support of Kenyans living in the US and had been signed by nearly 1,000 people by press time.
Mwembu in the petition argues that half of Kenyans in the US reside in west coast and traveling all the way to the Kenyan Embassy in Washington, DC for biometrics processing is economically illogical.
Below is Mwembu petition.
Petitioning the Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya to Order epassport Biometrics Processing at the Consulate of the Republic of Kenya, Los Angeles, California
The Kenya Diaspora in the United States of America, is petitioning the Office of the President of the Republic of Kenya to consider authorizing processing epassports biometrics at the Consulate of the Republic of Kenya in Los Angeles, California. Fifty percent (50%) or more of the Kenyans in the United States reside on the West Coast of America.
Considering the distance and the cost of travel to Washington, D.C. solely for the purpose of epassport biometrics processing fails to make economic sense. The distance to Washington, D.C. is extreme and the total cost is prohibitive.
As an alternative, epassport biometrics processing can be performed at consulate in Los Angeles. The office is fully functional, appropriately staffed and has the capability to handle epassport processing. Huduma number biometrics, Kenya identification cards, old generation passports, travel visas and even issuance of travel documents to Kenyans wishing to travel to Kenya, but have lost their passports have been issued at the office.
The absence of epassports services in Los Angeles is hamstringing, disenfranchising and difficult to understand. Availability of the service in Los Angeles will lead to Kenyans taking shorter money saving trips instead going to all the way to Washington, D.C. The money saved from the shorter trips could end up being additional Diaspora remittances to Kenya; some of it going into employment creating projects that will hire the youth and hence an enhancement to the economic growth of Kenya. Cost-benefit analysis of initiating epassport biometrics processing in Los Angeles will undoubtedly proof worthwhile.
Estimate of cost of the epassport if you Reside in Los Angeles
A conservative estimate of the cost of travel from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. merely for the purpose epassport biometrics processing is approximately $1,300 for one person. This estimate comprises of a return air-ticket at $500; 3 days stay in a hotel at $100 per day or a total $300; food at $50 a day or $150; rental car for 3 days at $30 per day or $90; and a cost of applying for a 64-page passport at $140. This means that a family of four will be spending approximately $5,620 on the epassport. Incidentally, this estimate does not include lost income since most people are only paid if they go to work. Assuming 5,000 Kenyans will travel to Washington, D.C. for the epassport, estimates indicate they will spend in excess of $6.5 million (i.e. 5,000 Kenyans x $1,300).
Is this worth it? Is this how the Kenya Government wants its Diaspora citizens to spend their money? How will Kenya and its peoples benefit from such spending? The answer is simple; benefits will accrue airlines and hotels. The smart action to take is to bring the epassport services closer to the people.
Distance Between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
According to google maps, the distance between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C is approximately 2,691 miles or 4,306 kilometers. If one would be crazy enough to drive, it will take approximately 80 hours round trip. Supposing one can drive an average of 10 hours a day, the round trip will take 8 days. If you add roughly the 3 necessary days for rest and getting processed at the embassy, one must budget two full weeks for the epassport. Is this wise?
If the epassport service is initiated at the Los Angeles consulate, residents of surrounding states such as Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho et al could easily drive to Los Angeles if they chose not to fly.
In summary, the Kenyan Diaspora in the United States of America petition the Office of the President in the Republic of Kenya to intervene with an order that will allow epassport processing at the Consulate of Republic of Kenya in Los Angeles, California.
To sign the petition at Change.org, Click here: http://chng.it/RbbJP9VM