DeSantis activates National Guard amid increase of migrant landings on Florida Keys
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday activating the Florida National Guard and directing state law enforcement agencies to help local governments dealing with an increase of migrants landing in the Florida Keys.
Those and other resources are being activated, in part, to help "prevent further migrant landings on Florida's shores," DeSantis said in a statement.
"As the negative impacts of Biden's lawless immigration policies continue unabated, the burden of the Biden administration's failure falls on local law enforcement who lack the resources to deal with the crisis," the statement said. "That is why I am activating the National Guard and directing state resources to help alleviate the strain on local resources. When Biden continues to ignore his legal responsibilities, we will step in to support our communities."
ABC News reached out to the Biden administration but has not received a response.
The move comes as hundreds of migrants have been interdicted at sea or have landed on the Florida coast in recent days. Earlier Friday, CBP Miami Sector Chief Walter Slosar tweeted that Border Patrol agents and law enforcement partners had responded to five migrant landings and encountered 90 Cuban migrants in the Florida Keys in the past 24 hours.
On Monday, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said his office had been assisting federal law enforcement agencies respond over the weekend to a "spike in Cuban refugee arrivals." The Sheriff's office reported that more than 160 refugees had landed in the Middle and Upper Keys.
"Refugee arrivals require a lot of resources from the Sheriff's Office as we help our federal law enforcement partners ensure the migrants are in good health and safe," said Ramsay. "Residents may see an increased amount of law enforcement and emergency responders throughout the county as we continue to respond to these landings."
The Homeland Security Task Force Southeast, a coalition comprised of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other entities said that between Dec. 30 and Jan 2., its partners had interdicted and encountered 606 migrants at sea and 326 migrants in the Florida Keys. The Task Force also reported encountering 59 migrants on the Marquesas Key.
Multiple migrant landings were also reported on Dry Tortugas National Park, forcing the park to temporarily close as authorities removed 427 migrants from the region. The park is situated approximately 70 miles west of Key West and is only reachable by boat or sea plane.
In a press release, the governor's office says the state is deploying air assets which include airplanes and helicopters from the FL National Guard to support water interdictions and "ensure the safety of migrants attempting to reach Florida through the Florida Straits."
"The Biden administration's response has been inept, failing to provide the resources necessary to respond to the current mass migration event. Instead, the burden falls on local law enforcement, which puts Floridians at risk," the press release said.
The decision by DeSantis comes months after the governor drew controversy for busing 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. A Texas sheriff opened an investigation into the matter in September.