Storiesfrom the border...

Published on Thu, Oct 11, 2007
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Stories from the border...

Publisher’s Note: Living, visiting and working as we do on the 49th Parallel, the border has an undeniable impact on our lives. Border policies and construction delays are just two of the issues that can have dramatic effect on our day to day activities. Readers of The Northern Light and All Point Bulletin in Point Roberts are encouraged to write of their experiences. Confidentiality is assured. Here are some of the accounts we have received to date. Please address your reports to

Here’s my “Story from the Border”: My NEXUS renewal was declined because of a 1985 customs infraction.

Over the 27 years since then, I’ve made hundreds of crossing in the regular traffic lanes, PACE and Nexus lanes. I'm a dual citizen who has lived and worked on both the North and South shores of Semiahmoo Bay since 1980. I’m a U.S. combat veteran, recently retired from U.S. Customs where I worked in NEXUS office. Can it get much stranger?

In response to all those border stories, I, too, would like to keep this anonymous!

Over the last 100 times I’ve crossed the borders, I’ve had a few challenging experiences and unfriendly incidents ... probably 1 to 2 percent of the time ... otherwise the border people have been great! I figure I’m grumpy 10 percent of the time, so I applaud them as their job is much tougher than mine ... dealing with some people is tough and I’m sure, as we are all human, it probably spills over into the next car that pulls up. I think that is common to us all.

I find in life that, generally, my experiences are a reflection of my own attitude. Although many of the stories I read are undoubtedly valid and need to be expressed (and hopefully acted upon), I want to thank the border personnel for the friendliness they’ve shown me. They have a very important job to do! (Ideally, I wish I lived in a world where there were no borders and where we had more understanding and compassion for each other.)

My biggest frustration at the border is the Point Roberts locals and summer residents who feel it is thoughtful to drive through the residential area and cut in near the front of the line.

I’ve gotten out of my car a few times to ask them very nicely why they do it (knowing I have done some very selfish things myself).

One mother yelled at me; another with her two small children agreed with me but still stayed in line and the third was a big tough-looking biker on his Harley – I was nervous! He said, “You know, you’re right!” and he turned around and went to the back of the line!

Congratulations upon allowing discussion in your fine newspapers about the problems at the border ... especially NEXUS.

Upon reading story after story in your newspapers and receiving dozens of complaint stories through our association, our free trade group certainly agrees that an appeal system and/or ombudsman would be beneficial to all on both sides of the border.

We must remember that Europeans who have been fighting each other for thousands of years now have the European Economic Community (EEC) which even includes the free flow of persons/food/and other goods ... without visas or permits.

The result? The Eurodollar is now of greater value than the U.S. dollar. We hope that sooner, rather than later, American and Canadian authorities will permit the free flow of people ... especially skilled people like tradespersons from Whatcom County to work in the Vancouver, B.C. area, in the still booming housing market in Canada.

And recently, Microsoft has set up at Richmond, B.C., providing 700-plus high skilled computer jobs to worldwide Ph.Ds, doing postgraduate work in the U.S.A. who can’t stay and work in the U.S.A. because of a cap on certain work visas.

Americans and Canadians are, as it states on the Peace Arch, “Children of a common mother.” Let’s all start treating each other as “family.” H. Jay James, president, Northwest NAFTA Trade Association

Great job on the border stories. It is good to see some positive as well as the other side of the coin.

Isn’t it a sad day when we have to do this to draw the attention of those who have the power to do something about the situation. We love The Point and have many, many friends who are the same as us – second and third generation summer residents.

We really feel a family connection to the Point and our American friends who reside and vacation in Point Roberts. It used to be that the instant we crossed the border we felt like we were on vacation.

Now we are seriously considering selling our family cottage and buying in Canada where we can go and relax again. Hopefully your efforts on collecting border stories will result in some positive changes at the border into Point Roberts and we call all go about business as we used to in “the day.”