Illegal Aliens Intercepted in Sarnia

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


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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  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold