Florida Governor Ron DeSantis activates National Guard in response to uptick of migrants in Florida Keys

Florida National Guard Headquarters – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Avaniks

After hundreds of migrants have arrived in the Florida Keys, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has activated the state National Guard to bolster local authorities.

In order to mobilize the Guard and urge Florida law enforcement agencies and other organizations to provide resources to local governments as they deal with the increase in migrant landings, he signed an executive order on Friday.

“As the negative impacts of [President] 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,” DeSantis said in a release. 

“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,” he continued. 

The action was taken after local authorities announced that over the New Year’s weekend, at least 500 migrants arrived in the Florida Keys. About 300 of them made landfall on islands inside Dry Tortugas National Park, leading to a brief closure of the park. In the press statement announcing the executive order, DeSantis’ office stated that since August, law enforcement had intercepted more than 8,000 migrants off the Florida coast.

The Monroe County sheriff’s office, which is located in the Florida Keys, has stated in the release that it has been “especially difficult” to give the required resources to manage the hundreds of recently arrived migrants and maintain public safety.

DeSantis’ treatment of migrants entering Florida has generated national news and drawn criticism from Democrats. He has moved some of them on buses and airplanes to northern, Democratic-run “sanctuary” cities that restrict their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Both current Texas Governor Greg Abbott and former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey have made similar moves.

Although the governors claim they are transferring the migrants to areas with better resources to support them, detractors have criticized them for engaging in political pandering because they failed to notify the cities of the refugees’ impending arrival.

As more Venezuelan migrants enter the United States via Mexico, Biden unveiled additional measures on Wednesday to handle the crisis at the southern border. He advised migrants to apply for entry from their current location rather than “simply show up” at the border.

Additionally, Biden stated that the U.S. will broaden its parole program to include people from Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

A record-breaking 2.76 million migrants were discovered by police while attempting to cross the border illegally in the previous fiscal year, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

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