At The Safest Town In America, People Go Through Four Border Crossings A Day

There are several places where you may be in the US but must cross the Canadian border to get anywhere else inside America – and vice versa. It’s common to be able to cross the border without a passport. For instance,

  • Presque Isle, Maine borders Canada – and there’s even a golf club just over the border in Canada, where Americans park in the lot, and go play golf in Canada. (The location for the club was originally picked as a legal way to circumvent Prohibition.)

  • Estcourt, Maine has homes that are partially in the United States – and partially in Quebec.

  • You can drive from the U.S. onto Cornwall Island in Canada without going through a border checkpoint – which is actually north, in mainland Canada. Canadian residents of the island, which is in Canada, have to go through a border checkpoint to go elsewhere inside their own country.

  • At both the International Peace Garden between North Dakota and Manitoba, and the Peace Arch at the main border crossing between Seattle and Vancouver, you can walk around inside of a park and enter the other country from either side of the border without restriction.

Oddly, no one’s ever thought to build a wall along these places and make Mexico pay for it.

Point Roberts, Washington can only be reached from other points in the U.S. by transiting Canada. The island crosses below the 49th parallel, drawn as the US border in 1846.

There are long strips of land between the US and Canadian borders with no checkpoints at all. The U.S. – Canada land borders are closed to all but essential traffic. So friends meet in parks to say hello and spend time together – while staying on their own side of the border. Sometimes border officials shoo people away.

Children have to cross four borders every day for school, since they have to leave the country and return. Not only school-aged kids have to do this, but anyone going to the hospital too. The town has been called the safest place in America, there’s very little crime with the outsized law enforcement presence and screening of outsiders.

Residents with U.S. health insurance generally need to be treated by U.S. providers to stay within their coverage, and so have to travel all the way to other cities in Washington State rather than just getting treated in Vancouver. In some ways it may be the least free because of the checkpoints. There’s no drugstore or veterinarian there.

There’s a move to have Canada acquire Point Roberts from the United States. 75% of properties are owned by Canadians who cannot currently access the homes The U.S. made the Louisiana Purchase and the acquisition of Alaska was known as Seward’s Folly. President Trump proposed buying Greenland. So there’s certainly precedent.

This video offers a fascinating look at Point Roberts.

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