(KEY WEST, FL) – According to Dry Tortugas National Park, 500 migrants have arrived at the park over the last few days, forcing the park to temporarily close and declare a humanitarian crisis.
The sheriff says the problem was made worse by a slow response from US Border Patrol and delayed federal resources. The migrants will eventually be transported to Key West to determine their immigration status.
Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles west of Key West, was closed so law enforcement and medical personnel could evaluate the migrants before moving them to Key West, the park tweeted.
NEW RELEASE: Dry Tortugas National Park will temporarily close to the public on January 2 at 8 am while law enforcement & medical personnel evaluate, provide care for & coordinate transport to Key West for approximately 300 migrants who arrived in the park in the past couple days pic.twitter.com/5UiJ1vP2Lc
— Dry Tortugas National Park (@DryTortugasNPS) January 1, 2023
“The closure, which is expected to last several days, is necessary for the safety of visitors and staff because of the resources and space needed to attend to the migrants,” park officials said in their statement.
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 have been experiencing the largest escalation of migrations by boat in nearly a decade.