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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  • Harold McNeill

    January 15, 2021 |

    Wow, Graham, I was taken by surprise (but then again that’s not too hard). Having all you fine folks (my children by other fathers and mothers) would have been great. I’m hopeful that sometime in the not too distant future, we can reprise that trip. Perhaps we’ll just set aside a time for someone else’s landmark day, and we can surprise them. Love to you two. Harold

  • Graham and Nazanin

    January 15, 2021 |

    How could we miss this historic event my friend!!!
    Nazy and I were booked for that cruise Harold, we were looking so forward to it.
    We will be together soon! We both wish that continued unconditional love you receive from everyone to continue as you are that special someone that makes a difference in this world.
    Happy birthday sir, cheers!

  • Harold McNeill

    January 7, 2021 |

    Glad you found the site and that Dorthy enjoyed. I’ve added a lot of school photos in other locations linked to the High School Years stories. Cheers, Harold

  • Shelley Hamaliuk

    January 2, 2021 |

    Hi there, I am Dorothy Marshall’s (nee Hartman) daughter. Mom was quite excited when she discovered this site while surfing the net yesterday, so excited that she told me to have a look! She quite enjoyed taking a trip down memory and seeing old pictures of herself.Keep up the great work!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

  • McNeill Life Stories Index to Police Notebook - McNeill Life Stories

    February 16, 2020 |

    […] Part I, Police solidarity and the push for amalgamation. Part II, Comparing police cultures and implementing change Part III, The past as a guide to the future Part IV The integration of police services […]