ICYMI: Inslee’s letter to President Biden urges action for Point Roberts, border communities

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In case you missed it: Governor Jay Inslee sent a letter last week to President Joe Biden reiterating his call for a targeted exception to border restrictions for the community of Point Roberts and a partial reopening of the US-Canada land border.

The letter comes after 18 months of border closures and repeated calls by the governor to the Biden administration to bring relief to affected Washington communities and businesses. Inslee also sought clarification from the administration on the circumstances and requirements for entry into the United States at the Canada-United States border.

The letter says, in part:

“These ongoing restrictions create real and lasting harm to the citizens of Point Roberts, Washington, which is ideally located given its location below the 49th parallel, as well as to communities throughout the border whose economies depend on the travel and tourism of Canadian travelers. As I communicated in letters to Secretaries Antony Blinken and Alejandro Mayorkas this summer, the economic damage and depredation suffered by these communities is becoming more severe every month – and with each monthly extension of these general restrictions. The Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce wrote on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, this community alone finds itself in “dire straits” as 85% of its economy depends on commercial activity from Canadians, which is now impossible.

“Washington State is doing its part to help these communities overcome this situation. In June, I authorized $ 100,000 from the state’s strategic reserve fund to prevent the closure of the only Point Roberts grocery store due to lack of summer travel. This week, the Washington State Department of Commerce announced a new “Border Business Assistance Program” to provide grants of up to $ 50,000 to some affected businesses by the ongoing shutdown. The efforts of the federal congressional delegation in Washington State to identify the resources of the American Rescue Plan Act have also been extremely well received. Yet these measures are only a temporary solution that cannot make whole communities that suffer increasingly severe damage under restrictions that have failed to adapt to events.

“To meet the needs of these communities in Washington State, I ask you to work with your staff and Cabinet to quickly consider the following options to improve this situation:

  • A targeted exception for the community of Point Roberts that would allow fully vaccinated Canadians to enter Point Roberts, just as fully vaccinated Americans can travel to Canada by land.
  • Identify options to at least partially reopen the land border between the United States and Canada, with a general reopening of the border remaining our ultimate goal.

Read the full letter here.

Background:

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