Wave of migrants in Florida Keys is a crisis, sheriff says

Jan 1, 2023, 4:40 PM | Updated: Jan 2, 2023, 5:05 pm
A group of Cuban migrants gather on the side of U.S. 1 in the Middle Keys island of Duck Key, Fla.,...

A group of Cuban migrants gather on the side of U.S. 1 in the Middle Keys island of Duck Key, Fla., Monday Jan. 2, 2023. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)

(Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — At least 500 migrants have arrived in small boats along the Florida Keys over the last several days in what the local sheriff’s office described on Monday as a “crisis.”

Economic turmoil, food shortages and soaring inflation in Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean is spurring the most recent wave of migration. Over the weekend, 300 migrants arrived at the sparsely populated Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of Key West. The park was closed so that law enforcement and medical personnel could evaluate the group before moving them to Key West, the park tweeted.

Separately, 160 migrants arrived by boats in other parts of the Florida Keys over the New Year’s Day weekend, officials said. On Monday, 30 people in two new groups of migrants were found in the Middle Keys.

In a news release, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay criticized the federal response to the uptick in migrant arrivals, saying they were stretching local resources. U.S. Border Patrol told the sheriff’s office that the federal response to some of the migrants arriving may have to wait a day, the news release 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,” said Ramsay, whose office’s jurisdiction encompasses the Florida Keys. “This shows a lack of a working plan by the federal government to deal with a mass migration issue that was foreseeable.”

Officials at Dry Tortugas National Park said they expected it be closed for several days because of the space and resources needed to attend to the migrants. The national park is at the southern tip of the continental U.S. — and attracts scuba divers and snorkelers for its coral reefs, nesting sea turtles, tropical fish and shipwrecks.

“Like elsewhere in the Florida Keys, the park has recently seen an increase in people arriving by boat from Cuba and landing on the islands of Dry Tortugas National Park,” the National Park Service said in a news release.

In addition to landing at the national park over the weekend, 160 other migrants arrived in the Middle and Upper Keys. At least 88 of the migrants are from Cuba, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a tweet.

U.S. Border Patrol and Coast Guard crews patrolling South Florida and the Keys have been experiencing the largest escalation of migrations by boat in nearly a decade, with hundreds of interceptions in recent months, mostly of people from Cuba and Haiti.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A sign is shown on a Google building at their campus in Mountain View, Calif., Sept. 24, 201...
Associated Press

Google hopes ‘Bard’ will outsmart ChatGPT, Microsoft in AI

Google is girding for a battle of wits in the field of artificial intelligence with “Bard," a conversational service apparently aimed at countering the popularity of the ChatGPT tool backed by Microsoft.
16 hours ago
FILE - A Boeing 737 Max jet prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle, Se...
Associated Press

Boeing plans to cut about 2,000 finance and HR jobs in 2023

Boeing plans to make staffing cuts in the aerospace company's finance and human resources departments in 2023, with a loss of around 2,000 jobs
16 hours ago
(Jennifer Bakos via AP)...
Associated Press

1 missing, 2 rescued from crab boat off Washington coast

A crew member remains missing and two others were rescued from crab boat that sank near Willapa Bay in southwest Washington on Sunday evening, according to the Coast Guard.
16 hours ago
child marriages...
Associated Press

Proposed bill would pay incarcerated workers minimum wage

A Washington state lawmaker who has spent time in prison wants the state to pay incarcerated workers minimum wage for doing their jobs.
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Trudeau says Canadian health care isn’t living up to promise

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that Canada’s health care system isn’t living up to its promise, and he plans to add billions more in funding. Trudeau said wait times in emergency departments have become dangerously long, people are waiting too long for essential surgeries and millions of Canadians are without […]
16 hours ago
This photo provided by the U.S. Air Force shows a U.S. Air Force pilot taking off in an F-22 Raptor...
Associated Press

As jets closed in on China balloon, hobbyists were listening

WASHINGTON (AP) — The extraordinary scene of U.S. fighter jets getting ready to strike a Chinese balloon had many people along the Carolina coast straining their necks and pointing their smartphones to the sky to capture the moment of impact. But a group of aviation enthusiasts was, instead, intently scanning radio frequencies for the exchanges […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Wave of migrants in Florida Keys is a crisis, sheriff says