Cantwell Convenes Forum With Local Communities and DHS to Discuss Border Issues in Blaine

BLAINE, WA – This week, the office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) convened a roundtable discussion among community leaders and representatives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Blaine. Earlier this year, Cantwell participated in a video conference from her Washington, DC office with community leaders to hear their concerns about U.S. Border Patrol activities. During these conversations, a variety of issues were discussed, including border security, collaboration between local law enforcement and federal agencies, and how to move forward to deliver results.

“There are so many issues facing northern border communities,” said Cantwell. “Ensuring an open dialogue between members of local agencies with the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection is essential as we work together to tackle these tough issues.”

"British Columbia provides many key business partnerships for Whatcom County," said Port of Bellingham Interim Executive Director Fred Seeger. "The Port seeks cross-border business opportunities and those efforts are most successful when our borders act as gateways, rather than barriers."

In March 2009, Cantwell spoke with, and sent a letter to, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano urging her to review Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policies and practices to ensure that limited federal resources are being put to the best use at the northern border.

Cantwell will continue working with local communities to ensure that the DHS addresses their concerns.