As the presidential election looms, U.S. immigration policy has been in the headlines a lot lately.
But neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has mentioned what should happen to the 1,500 swimsuit-clad Americans who illegally crossed the border into Canada when high winds pushed their inner tubes into Canadian waters.
The annual event is usually a fun-filled day spent lazily floating down the St. Clair River at the height of summer. This year, though, high winds made turned the float into a flurry with 30-mph gusts of wind pushing the floaters towards Canada. Many of the partygoers ended up getting stranded on the Canadian side of the river with no way to return to the U.S., save for a helping hand from the Canadian Coast Guard, who were not particularly surprised to see them wash up on their shores.
“The people who take part in this are not mariners,” Peter Garapick of the Canadian Coast Guard told the CBC. “They don't look at the wind, the weather and the waves. We knew from the get-go, the winds were going to cause a problem. There's no question they were involuntarily coming to Canada.”
Some of the floaters realized they were about to illegally cross a border, and decided to try and swim back to the U.S. only to be stymied by the current.
“They were terrified of entering another country without documentation,” said Garapick, who added “there were Americans everywhere.”
“No one carries their passport or any ID, and a lot were drinking alcohol,” Garapick added that Sunday’s float was the “worst in the history of the event.”
The 1,500 floaters all ended up being washed ashore or fished out of the water by Sarnia, Ontario police, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Canada Border Service Agency, and employees from a nearby chemical company. They were then sent back to the U.S. on buses with a police escort.
No word on whether Canada is contemplating building a wall to prevent this from happening in the future.