Illegal Aliens Intercepted in Sarnia

Written by Harold McNeill on August 23rd, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts, Editorials


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Photo (Web Source) In what is expected to become a flood over the coming months, 1500 Illegal aliens from the Michigan were intercepted while attempting to cross the St. Clair River into southern Ontario.  Earlier in the day, the above group posed as party goers in an attempt to evade detection as they crossed the river, however a change in the weather turned their escape plans into a near disaster.

The OPP and Sarnia police as well as the Canadian Coast Guard, Canada Border Service Agency and employees from a nearby chemical company Lanxess helped to pull dozens of exhausted men, women and children from the frigid waters. Some were suffering from the early stages of hypothermia and if rescue personnel had not arrived when they did, many might have died from exposure.As Police, the Coast Guard and Border Services began to take them into custody, a Coast Guard rescue boat had to chase down a few young men who attempted to flee by swimming back across the river. Rescue and ambulance service personal at the scene reported that some of those who attempted to make the crossing appeared to be high on alcohol or drugs.

One unnamed ambulance attended stated, “it was an extremely dangerous situation that could have ended up with many being drowned if they had attempted to make the crossing after dark or if the afternoon storm had been of greater intensity.”

Another spokesperson stated that late afternoon winds gusting 50 – 75 k/h had caused many of the port-huron-float-downoverloaded, makeshift craft to flip, throwing occupants into the water. Because few had lifejackets or other survival equipment, all they could do was cling to their overturned watercraft.

Photo (Web Source):  While some of the boat people  willingly climbed aboard police and civilian craft, others attempted to swim back to the US Border.

The CBSA (Canadian Border Services) and Immigration personnel said that very few of those intercepted had a passport or other ID. They report this is not at all unusual as less than half of American citizens have ever bothered to acquire one. A Canadian immigration official stated, “Some were terrified of entering Canada without documentation but they were willing to take their chances as the promise of a better life for them and their families was so strong.”

As the people were plucked from the water they thanked rescuers:

God bless Canada!” shouted one floater.

“Thank you, Canada!” yelled another.

Peter Garapick of the Canadian Coast Guard said: “There were people in places you’d never think something would float, but there were Americans everywhere, there was no chance for anything floating or people on inner tubes to go anywhere but Canada.

It appears many of those making the dangerous trek were from Flint Michigan, a mere 120 km west of flint-water-723Sarnia on Interstate 69.   Given the desperate state of the economy in cities such as Flint, thousands have become determined to leave in order to find a better life and Canada is so tantalizingly close.

Photo (Web Source)  Closed down factories, polluted water and unemployment have left the remaining residents of Flint, Michigan, in dire straits.

For many, Canada is the last and best hope as it is expected that when Donald Trump becomes President, a wall will be built to keep people from fleeing to Mexico and and Central America. Even Cuba has increased border security as an unnamed government official reports a large numbers of boat people have been heading south from the Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, states where many are also facing desperate times.

In Canada, Conservative Party leadership contenders are stepping forward in calling for more stringent surveillance of the Canada/US Border as incursions such as this continue to increase. Some think that if Hillary Clinton becomes president, the flow will become a flood as many fear a woman president will lose control.  It seems the Conservative leadership hopefuls are even more worried about her than about Donald Trump.

Maxime Bernier, a leading contender in the Conservative race is calling for a wall to be built along the Canadian border and claims that if he becomes the next Prime Minister he will force the Americans to pay for the wall. (Border Security Gone Crazy)

Meanwhile back in Sarnia, Lee Patterson, deputy director of Sarnia Transport, said 10 buses made over 20 trips between 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. as people were transported to a detention centre near Toronto where the process of sorting out valid applicants will begin. “

For the most part those being held were good spirits, but, “towards the end of the evening, when it started to rain, some of them were getting a little tired and cold.” Sarnia police contacted the Canadian Red Cross and they came out and brought some extra blankets to keep people warm and Sarnia city works spent several hours Monday picking up personal belongings that were left scattered along the riverbanks on the Canadian side.

The incursion into Canada of such a large number of undocumented aliens comes at a time of heightened security as a result of the discovery of a terrorist cell in Strathroy, Ontario (Keep the Peace). In that case one suspect was killed while leaving his residence with a bomb while others (sleeper cells) remain remain undetected.

Harold McNeill
Victoria, BC
August 23, 2016

More at: Floaters invade Sarnia

More Photos: US Boat People Fled to Canada

 

 

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  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.