Florida Coast Sees Surge in Migrant Landings, Law Enforcement Stepping up Response

The U.S. Border Patrol responded to reports of a migrant group stranded near Duck Key on Wednesday. Florida Fish and Wildlife officers assisted in rescuing the group, whose boat had become stuck on a mangrove island.

Migrant encounters have become a regular occurrence on Florida shores. On Tuesday, federal and state police responded to a migrant landing on Key Colony Beach. Border Patrol apprehended 19 Cuban migrants who had arrived in a makeshift wooden boat.

A video published by WPLG Local 10 showed at least 16 people in life jackets transported ashore by officers. Border Patrol handed out water and performed medical checkups before taking the group into custody.

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Later that day, a yacht landed in Fort Lauderdale carrying migrants from Haiti, Brazil, and the Bahamas. Border Patrol apprehended 12 migrants, and the rest of the group escaped on foot. The incident is being investigated as a “smuggling event.”

Florida law enforcement recently stepped up its response to the crisis following a state of emergency declared by Governor DeSantis. The governor signed an executive order on Friday granting local governments the use of state resources to deal with migrant encounters. The order also authorizes the national guard to help manage the crisis “as needed.”

The State of Florida will deploy air assets, including airplanes and helicopters from the Florida National Guard, and will bolster Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission marine patrol to support water interdictions and ensure the safety of migrants attempting to reach Florida through the Florida Straits.

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Border security is officially the federal government’s responsibility, but critics say the White House is not doing enough to maintain law and order. “Dry Tortugas natural park has already been forced to close because of this crisis,” said Rep. Carlos Gimenez in a statement before congress. “the Biden administration is directly responsible.”

“The president’s unwillingness to secure our border coupled with his pathetic policy of appeasement and brutal concessions to the Castro regime in Cuba have created a migratory crisis unlike any other the Florida Keys has seen in decades.”

More than 8,000 migrants have been interdicted off the Florida coast since August.

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