Gov. Ron DeSantis activates Florida National Guard amid influx of migrants to Florida Keys

300 migrants entered Dry Tortugas National Park on Sunday
Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis takes to the stage to debate his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist in Fort Pierce, Fla., on Oct. 24, 2022.
Posted at 4:03 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-06 18:53:10-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's governor signed an executive order Friday activating the state's National Guard as the Florida Keys manages a major influx of people fleeing Cuba and other Caribbean nations.

The order also directs state law enforcement agencies and other state agencies to provide resources in support of local governments responding to the sharp increase in migrant landings in South Florida.

"As the negative impacts of [President Joe] 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," Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a written statement. "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."


DeSantis said the almost daily migrant landings, sometimes at multiple locations, have been particularly burdensome for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, which has 194 deputies. Law enforcement in the Florida Keys said this week that it is hampering their efforts to provide adequate public safety.

The governor's office called the Biden Administration's response to the surge in migrant landings "inept" and said the federal government has failed to provide the resources necessary to respond to the current mass migration event.

The state will deploy airplanes and helicopters from the Florida National Guard and will bolster Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission marine patrol to support water interdictions in an effort to provide safety to migrants attempting to reach Florida through the Florida Straits.

About 300 migrants entered Dry Tortugas National Park, located about 70 miles west of Key West, with an additional 45 illegal aliens entering Key West on Sunday. This caused the park to close, allowing officials to attend to the matter.

Federal, state and local law enforcement have encountered more than 8,000 migrants in waters off the coast of Florida since August 2022, the governor's office said.

President Joe Biden announced Thursday the U.S. would immediately begin turning away Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the border from Mexico illegally.