Unprecedented passport application delays stifle travelers
Estella Valdez is seen at her home in Chicago on July 22, 2021. - Jose M. Osorio/TNS

CHICAGO — As a pandemic newlywed, all Estella Valdez wants to do is join her new husband, family and friends for the Aruba honeymoon they rescheduled for August. But Valdez, 46, can’t relax poolside at a luxury resort, let alone cross a tarmac, until the passport she sent for renewal in April comes back. Of the 12 people traveling, Valdez is the only one stuck without a passport — and is one of the millions nationwide whose new passport applications or renewals are caught in limbo by increasingly lengthy processing delays. Travelers trying to get their first passports or renew the ones they ha...