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Sunday, January 29, 2023



Oct. 22, 2001 – After spending Sunday night on the rocks east of St. John's Brown Bay, 48 illegal aliens from China were picked up by V.I. National Park staff on Monday.
Police Lt. Rene Garcia said they were transported by four park boats to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service headquarters on St. Thomas for processing.
"We had to use a raft to take them from the rocks to the boats," said Schuler Brown, the park chief of enforcement. He said park personnel borrowed the inflatable raft from a U.S. Coast Guard boat patrolling the area and that a park ranger had to get into the water to assist the aliens in getting into the raft.
A resident reported seeing the crowd of people on the rocks at 3:24 p.m. Sunday. However, Brown said he was alerted to the situation after dark. The area has no access road, which meant the job had to be done by boat. At that point it was unsafe to try pluck the people off the rocks, Brown said, and park personnel could not reach INS officials to receive them. So the 13 women and 35 men were forced to spend the night out in the open. "We figured they were safe," Brown said.
Garcia said the men and women ate whelks and cactus, and Brown said they had some cans of soda. Brown said some had minor foot injuries caused by stepping on spiny sea urchins on their way to shore.
While a hiking trail leads near the area, Brown said, they probably didn't know about it and were too "beat and tired" to use it, anyway. "I don't think they could go much further," he said.
Garcia speculated that they stayed put because "these people do not run away."
The arrival of the 48 follows the arrival on Oct. 20 of 36 illegal aliens, all also from China, at the Coral Bay ball park.
Garcia also said that a powerboat with twin 200-hp engines found on the beach at Leinster Bay on Oct. 20 might be linked to the arrival of the earlier group.
And several weeks ago, Brown said, the park seized a 28-foot wooden boat that brought several illegal aliens to shore.
St. John is the most-used location in the Virgin Islands for dropping off illegal aliens. Coming from various nations, they typically pay thousands of dollars for the trip in hopes of making it from the territory to the U.S. mainland.

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