Ron DeSantis Activates National Guard Amid Surge of Illegal Aliens Entering Florida Keys

 Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times,

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed an executive order to activate the National Guard in the state amid a major surge of illegal aliens arriving in the Florida Keys from places such as Cuba and other Caribbean countries.

“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,” the Republican governor said in a 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.”

The executive order (pdf) also directs state law enforcement agencies and other state agencies to “provide resources in support of local governments” responding to the influx of illegal immigrants in the Florida Keys, as well as “additional support toward efforts to prevent further migrant landings on Florida’s shores.”

Florida’s state government is also set to deploy aircraft from the Florida National Guard, as well as support marine patrol from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, to “support water interdictions and ensure the safety of migrants attempting to reach Florida through the Florida Straits.”

DeSantis’s office called the influx of illegal immigrants “alarming.”

It noted that about 300 illegal aliens on Jan. 1 unlawfully entered Dry Tortugas National Park, which is about 70 miles west of Key West. On the same day, another 45 illegal aliens entered Key West—an island that’s part of the Florida Keys archipelago.

8,000 Illegal Aliens Encountered in Waters Off Florida

“This massive influx of illegal immigrants caused the park to close to ensure the safety of visitors and staff and to provide the space necessary to attend to the illegal immigrants,” stated the governor’s office.

“Since August 2022, federal, state and local law enforcement have encountered more than 8,000 migrants in waters off the coast of Florida.”

Illegal aliens from Cuba line up to board a bus to be driven to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection station as they are processed in Marathon, Fla., on Jan. 5, 2023

“Florida has a long history of helping refugees, including Cubans and others fleeing communist regimes, find support after they arrive in the United States, however, this has always involved support from the Federal Government and a large, coordinated effort amongst state, federal and local governments,” DeSantis’s office said.

But it is “particularly burdensome” for Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which has 194 deputies, to manage hundreds of illegal immigrants while also trying to ensure public safety, his office noted. It called the Biden administration’s overall response to the influx of illegal aliens into the United States “inept,” adding that the federal government has failed 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.”

Meanwhile, the arrivals have been continuing.

Walter N. Slosar, the chief patrol agent of the Miami Sector headquarters, wrote on Twitter late Jan. 6: “During the past 24 hours, Border Patrol agents & [law enforcement] partners responded to 5 migrant landings & encountered 90 Cuban migrants in the Florida Keys. The migrants arrived on rustic vessels & residents notified local authorities.”

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