News Releases

ICYMI: Senator Murray Calls on Homeland Security Secretary to Grant Border Exemption for Point Roberts – MORE HERE

ICYMI: Senator Murray Statement on Continued Northern Border Closure – MORE HERE

Senator Murray: “I’m here on the Senate floor today to make sure that President Biden and his administration understand me. At the very least, we need an emergency exemption from these restrictions for the Point Roberts community—and that exemption is long overdue.” 

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***    

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), called on the Biden administration to grant the Washington state exclave of Point Roberts a border exemption to allow non-essential travel from Canada at the Point Roberts border crossing following the extension of the U.S. border closure until October 21.

“I greatly appreciate the administration’s science-based approach to the COVID-19 pandemic—we have to follow the science and the evidence—and I’m proud we have taken COVID-19 extremely seriously from the very start in Washington state,” said Senator Murray. “But I firmly believe that the evidence supports, at least, a narrow and tailored exception to the Canadian border closure to allow for a  reopening of the Point Roberts port of entry to Canadian travel. I have yet to be presented with a compelling reason why a border exemption for Point Roberts has not yet been provided.”

“I’ve spoken directly with DHS Secretary Mayorkas about this. With Jeff Zients, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator and other top officials at the State Department and White House as well, but no one can explain to me what evidence is being used to support these continued border restrictions,” continued Senator Murray. "So I’m here on the Senate floor today to make sure that President Biden and his administration understand me. At the very least, we need an emergency exemption from these restrictions for the Point Roberts community—and that exemption is long overdue.”

This is only the most recent public push by Senator Murray to restore Northern border travel and specifically to advocate for a border exemption for Point Roberts. Last month, Senator Murray led a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas calling on him to grant a border exemption for Point Roberts as the community faces unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Murray has heard from residents of Point Roberts and other border communities about the need to re-open the border with Canada, and has repeatedly pushed the U.S. State Department, Department of Homeland Security, and other federal officials to come to a resolution with the Canadian government on re-opening, and secure an exemption for Point Roberts as soon as possible. Earlier this year, Senator Murray introduced legislation that would provide forgivable loans to small businesses in exclaves of the contiguous United States near the Canadian border, and using American Rescue Plan funding that Senator Murray helped to secure, Governor Inslee was able to provide emergency financial assistance in June to avoid a food crisis in the community.

See full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech as prepared for delivery below.

"Early this week, the administration extended its border closure with Canada for another month.

"Another month that vaccinated Americans can travel into Canada but vaccinated Canadians can’t cross our border—dealing another month-long blow to American businesses all along our northern border.

"I am so glad to see the Biden administration taking the pandemic seriously and delivering much-needed relief in so many ways, but I am not going to stay quiet about the serious, completely unnecessary harm this border closure is causing to small businesses and workers in Point Roberts, Washington.

"As I’ve said to everyone who will listen, and some who I’m sure are tired of hearing me: Point Roberts must, at least, have an exemption as we work to safely reopen the U.S.-Canada border.

"Here’s why, for those of you not familiar with this particular part of Washington state.

"Point Roberts is what’s called an “exclave” community.

"Residents of Point Roberts can’t get to the rest of Washington state without driving through Canada.

"So to paint a picture here: you can take a boat from Canada to Point Roberts, you can fly across the border from Vancouver to Seattle, but right now, because of the border closure, a  Canadian family can’t drive to Point Roberts for lunch.

"Point Roberts, its small businesses and its economy, cannot survive without easy cross border travel. 

"Their local economy depends on Canadian tourists, especially since the only ferry between Point Roberts and the rest of Washington state closed during the pandemic.

"It has been more than 17 months and counting and I have heard from so many small business owners, including the owner of the only grocery store in town, who are on the brink of shutting their doors for good.

"Now again, I greatly appreciate the administration’s science-based approach to the COVID-19 pandemic—we have to follow the science and the evidence—and I’m proud we have taken COVID-19 extremely seriously from the very start in Washington state.

"But I firmly believe that the evidence supports, at least, a narrow and tailored exception to the Canadian border closure to allow for a  reopening of the Point Roberts port of entry to Canadian travel.

"I have yet to be presented with a compelling reason why a border exemption for Point Roberts has not yet been provided.

"I’ve spoken directly with DHS Secretary Mayorkas about this. With Jeff Zients, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator and other top officials at the State Department and White House as well, but no one can explain to me what evidence is being used to support these continued border restrictions.

"So I’m here on the Senate floor today to make sure that President Biden and his administration understand me.

"At the very least, we need an emergency exemption from these restrictions for the Point Roberts community—and that exemption is long overdue.

"Thank you and I yield the floor.”

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