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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Border Patrol

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May 25, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Drug smuggling, immigration and federal enforcement push border town to the brink

Richard Sinks, spokesman for the Blaine sector of Border Patrol, stands in front of the Peace Arch along the U.S.-Canada border. (Photo by Celina Kareiva / UW Election Eye)

Marijuana legalization and immigration are debates that impact every community in Washington. But for residents of a small city on the Canadian border, these issues hit especially close to home.

LYNDEN, Wash — The border between Washington state and Canada is demarcated by two parallel roads surrounded by long stretches of farmland.

As a boy, Gary Vis can remember darting through this area to a fishing hole where he and his friends used to spend summer afternoons.

“It was that easy to cross into Canada,” recalls the executive director of Lynden’s Chamber of Commerce.

Vis grew up among the raspberry fields and dairy farms of Lynden, WA. A small border city just south of Canada, Lynden was once known for having the most churches per square mile worldwide. Tulips fringe the sidewalks of the downtown square, and storefronts capitalize on the city’s Dutch heritage.

But behind this quaint facade is a city complicated by its proximity to the border.

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