BOBBY MAGILL

Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

Point Roberts: Where U.S. Customs wants to know why U.S. citizens are visiting the U.S.

 

 

Point Roberts, Wash., is a tiny peninsula jutting into the United States from Canada, about 22 miles or so south of downtown Vancouver, B.C. Point Roberts is surrounded by water in three sides, and Canada to the north, so it's completely cut off from the U.S.

The beaches there are beautiful, the forests dense, the homes plentiful and the Canadians abundant. Wikipedia says the schoolchildren here take a bus to Blaine, Wash., across the bay via two big Canadian highways. They cross an international border four times daily just to get to and from class.

There's only one road in and out of Point Roberts, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection presence there is heavy. Jacob and I decided to visit this geographical oddity on the way out of Vancouver two weeks ago after we completed our bike tour of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

When we reached the border, just south of Delta, BC, the U.S. customs agent asked for our passports and whether we're U.S. Citizens.

"What business do you have in Point Roberts today?" he asked.

Jacob and I looked at each other. What business do we, U.S. citizens, have in the United States?

Not sure, really. Do we have to answer that?

"Sight seeing," Jacob said.

Many who live on Point Roberts have a special pass they can swipe at both sides of the border allowing them to cross with little hassle.