Congresswoman lends an ear to Point Roberts

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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene visited Point Roberts on Wednesday and spent an hour updating local residents on her work in Washington, D.C. and getting feedback to take with her as she heads back in September.

“The focus this session will really be on keeping the government funded,” she said at the August 17 town hall meeting hosted by the Point Roberts Taxpayers Association. “We haven’t passed a budget this year. I don’t expect a lot of things to move before the election. This is unfortunately a very contentious election cycle and even things both sides agree on may not move.”

DelBene congratulated the Point Roberts community for their successful efforts to stop a proposed radio tower project, which had been a focus of her last visit to the Point, and several audience members asked her to continue to support cross-border efforts. “We couldn’t have done it without the Canadians, both citizens and politicians,” said Arthur Reber, member of the Cross Border Coalition to Stop the Towers. He asked DelBene to work with British Columbia legislative assembly member Vicki Huntington to address issues of pollution and over-industrialization in Delta that will have impacts south of the border.

DelBene said she participates in the Northern Border Coalition which “provides a forum for us to work together with our crowdeditcolleagues across the border.” When asked if there had been any investigation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about the possible impacts that a proposed expansion of the Deltaport facility could have in Point Roberts and on the habitats that support the Pacific Flyway, DelBene said she would inquire and share that information with the community.

Jim MacKay, Point Roberts Marina project coordinator, said the company was hampered by its inability to hire Canadians for non-management positions, as had been possible under a visa waiver program created specifically for Point Roberts and discontinued when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took over running the port of entry from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. “We can’t be more than 70 percent productive because we can’t get staff,” he said.

DelBene said she had discussed the issue with DHS staff, who said they don’t feel they have the flexibility to put port-specific solutions in place without legislative direction. “We’re working on what opportunities there might be and what legislative solutions we can come up with that would be more targeted to this specific issue and not part of comprehensive immigration reform,” she said. “I know it’s very important to the economy and local business issues.”

From a more welcoming attitude in the booth to flexibility with length of stay in the U.S., audience members wanted the port of entry to be less of a barrier to people and dollars coming to the Point. “Our economy right now is based on Canadians coming down here and right now they’re not coming down because they’re being scared away by this rule about how many days you can stay,” said local contractor Bob Jewell. “That may be another unique issue to Point Roberts that will need a solution that is more targeted,” DelBene said, pointing out current DHS policies are written for all the nation’s borders.

Reber said new port director George Gibson was actively working to engage the community and try to develop solutions within his agency’s mandate. “If you have a problem, pull over and go talk to him,” he said.

A general discussion about trade policies led to questions about how changes to those policies could keep good jobs in local communities. “My kids would like to make a home here but they also want a good-paying job,” said one audience member. “We have grain going up to Canada, we have coal going up to Canada. Those should be jobs for Americans.”

“We need to make sure our ports are on an equal playing field,” DelBene agreed. “We have port capacity that isn’t being used.”

DelBene encouraged audience members to contact her office with any concerns or issues they may want assistance with.

  1. This article omitted a large portion of the meeting with the Congressperson. Nearly one half of the meeting concerned local concerns regarding the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) trade agreement being pushed by President Obama. “A general discussion about trade policies” does not quite address the concerns of the audience with a resulting straw poll of those attending being opposed to the agreement. Perhaps the reporter should re-write her reporting on the meeting?

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  2. I wasn’t at the meeting with Congresswoman DelBene but would like to express my vehement objection to the Trans Pacific Partnership as well as to the one between us and the EU. These trade agreements are evil. They destroy sovereignty and only benefit the multinational corporations that seek to destroy the sovereignty of all nations order to force us into the Council on Foreign Relations long desired North American Union collectivist dictatorship which would be modelled after the failed European Union. I applaud the UK for having the courage to pull out of that nightmare. The EU needs to collapse completely, and I’m glad its moving in the directlon of total collapse because I know its history, and the same scum who designed it want carbon copies of it all over the world the better to enslave us all.
    Read Matthias Rath MD’s free download- “The Nazi Roots of the Brussels EU” and learn its true history! This book can be downloaded as a pdf file and is impeccably documented! We all need to be aware of this history!

    Bernie Sanders was quite correct to care about American workers and to oppose the TPP. Sadly, he endorsed Hillary Clinton even though she is completely owned by the multinational corporations, and even though she is FOR the TPP, and even though she has waffled all over the place on trade since she’s the sort of politician who is lying any time her lips are moving. Learn the truth about the Clinton’s by watching the documentary film “Clinton Cash” which you will find via a google search.You will be shocked by their duplicity, and appalled by their rampant criminality. I can’t wait for Julian Assange’s promised “October Surprise” because its clear that both Clinton’s belong in a Super Max Federal Prison if not Guantanamo.

    A growing number of former Bernie supporters have privately told me they’re going to vote for Trump. They don’t want me to divulge their names because they are afraid of being ostracized and shunned, but I am gratified by their honesty.

    DelBene wants us to fund the corrupt American government. Why? I say lets let the paper pushing pondscum in DC rotate! Lets let that mess collapse under its own weight and start over! Our government is unsustainable, and far too corrupt. If Hillary is installed on us via the phony polls, and via the rigged voting machines exposed by Bev Harris in her 6 part article about fracitionalized, decimilized rigged machines in her article at http://www.blackboxvoting.org at least we can rebel and have a second American Revolution. I pray that this won’t be necessary, but lets face it, we’ve never had a worse level of corruption in Washington DC and we don’t actually have real elections, we have a form of High Drama, put on for public consumption, to make us THINK our votes “matter” when the whole process is rigged. Donald Trump is right about that. He deserves our support. Hitlary is a neocon warmonger who will get us into a Third World War if she’s installed on us! I welcome an open dialogue with anyone about any of this. Since the 80s I’ve been lobbying professionally to defend consumer access to everything you buy in health food stores, my clients are dietary supplement and herb companies. This gives me a very interesting perspective on politics. I don’t trust either major party and am a Libertarian, but am Voting for Trump not Johnson because I don’t want to waste my vote, but I am still not sure my vote even matters due to what Bev Harris is reporting at http://www.blackboxvoting.org No matter which candidate you support, I hope you will join with me in calling Bev’s excellent research to more widespread attention to anyone who hates rigged elections and fraud! We must join forces across the political divide to address this threat to our nation lest it be totally destroyed by the Multinational Corporations and the Oligarchy! God Bless America!!

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