One area of the Florida Keys, Dry Tortugas National Park, has officially announced that it will need to shut down starting Monday due to the massive influx of illegal migrants that have wound up on its shores as of late.
Located out on the most Western edge of the Florida Keys, the park officially announced its closure as of this past Monday. Officials with the National Park Service claimed in a release that it needed to be shut down in order to deal with the close to 300 illegal migrants that have ended up on the island over the past few days. The migrants seemingly made the trip by boat from the communist island nation of Cuba.
“On January 2 at 8 am, Dry Tortugas National Park will temporarily close to public access while law enforcement and medical personnel evaluate, provide care for and coordinate transport to Key West for approximately 300 migrants who arrived in the park over the past couple of days,” read the statement released by the National Park Service.
“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. Concession-operated ferry and sea plane services are temporarily suspended.”
“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 government agency stated. “Park first responders provide food, water and basic medical attention until the Department of Homeland Security arrives and takes the lead. While the park is closed, vessels may seek safe harbor in the designated areas within the one nautical mile anchoring zone around Garden Key, including Bird Key Harbor. There will be no visitor services available while the closure is in effect and emergency services will be extremely limited. All closures will remain in place until further notice.”
As the Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Miami Sector, Walter N. Slosar explained via social media the agents of the Border Patrol had come across a total of close to 200 migrants on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day alone over the course of a few dozen separate encounters.
“During the past 24 hours, U.S. Border Patrol agents & LE partners responded to 5 migrant landings throughout the Florida Keys and encountered 88 Cuban migrants,” explained Slosar in a Saturday tweet.
“New Year’s Day in Florida: Over 160 migrants have been encountered today in the #Florida Keys,” he explained on Sunday. “Border Patrol agents with support from federal, state, and local LE partners responded to 10 migrant landings since midnight.”