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DeSantis activates Florida National Guard amid increase of migrants

Ron DeSantis
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) – On Friday Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order activating the state’s National Guard following the increase of migrants from Cuba and other Caribbean states in the Florida Keys.

DeSantis also directed state law agencies in the executive order to assist in the Keys. In a statement, the governor criticized Democratic President Joe Biden and the federal government’s immigration policies and response to the migrants landing in the Keys.

“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.”

Over New Years weekend alone, 700 migrants landed in the Florida Keys. 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.

DeSantis noted that the arrival of migrant landings have been particularly difficult for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office to handle, which has 194 deputies. Law enforcement in the Florida Keys said this week that they are trying their best to provide fair public safety for everyone.

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.

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