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Florida sees hundreds of migrants in boat landings over weekend, sheriff calls it ‘mass migration crisis’

A local sheriff has criticized the federal response to the arrival of the migrants in the Florida Keys

Hundreds of migrants arrived in the Florida Keys over the weekend in several boat landings, prompting a local sheriff to criticize the federal response to the “mass migration crisis.”

Over the weekend, 300 migrants arrived at Dry Tortugas National Park, located west of Key West, the National Park Service said. On Sunday, park officials said the park has seen an increase in people arriving from Cuba, prompting its closure for the next several days. 

“The closure, which is expected to last several days, is necessary for the safety of visitors and staff because of the resources and space needed to attend to the migrants,” the park tweeted Monday. “Concession-operated ferry and sea plane services are temporarily suspended.”

The migrants were being given food, water and basic medical attention until the Department of Homeland Security takes the lead in caring for them. 

Separately, more than 160 migrants landed in the Middle and Upper Keys, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. At least 88 of the migrants were from Cuba, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. 

The Cuban migrants came in five boat landings, Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar said.

The U.S. Border Patrol told the sheriff’s office that a federal response to the migrant landings may have to wait a day, the sheriff’s office said. 

“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,” Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said. “This shows a lack of a working plan by the federal government to deal with a mass migration issue that was foreseeable.”

The exodus of people fleeing Cuba for the United States hit an all-time high this year as the Caribbean country intensifies its brutal crackdown on citizens, and the United States’ southern border crisis continues to spiral. 

Border authorities recorded more than 227,000 Cubans attempting to enter into the United States illegally from December 2021 to 2022.

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