Dry Tortugas National Park Is Nonoperational For Now

Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys is temporarily closed to the public as a result of an influx of Cuban migrants.

According to a press release issued by the National Park Service, the closure, which went into effect on Monday, January 2, is anticipated to last for several days while law enforcement and medical personnel evaluate, provide care for and coordinate transportation to Key West for approximately 300 migrants who arrived in the park over the past couple of days.

The park can only be reached by seaplane or boat, and it is located about 70 miles (113 kilometers) west of Key West. Seven small islands make up Dry Tortugas, which is mostly water and covers about 100 square miles. It is within the National Marine Sanctuary of the Florida Keys.

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The number of people arriving by boat from Cuba and landing on the islands of Dry Tortugas National Park has recently increased.

The National Park Service, on the other hand, stated:

The park’s closure “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”.

This weekend, numerous migrants landed on Dry Tortugas. Several law enforcement agencies are coordinating efforts to recover those currently stranded on the remote, and uninhabited islands.

In the meantime, neither the situation nor the precise number of migrants being processed are known. Having said that, an executive order has been issued activating the state’s National Guard and directing state agencies to support local governments in their response to the influx with resources.

In a statement critical of the federal government’s immigration policies, the “burden of the Biden administration’s failure falls on local law enforcement who lack the resources to deal with the crisis” and that his order could “help alleviate the strain on local resources.”

A series of tweets from US Border Patrol chief patrol agent Walter N. Slosar reveal that more than 160 migrants were spotted in the Florida Keys on New Year’s Day alone. On New Year’s Eve, approximately 88 migrants were observed in the region.

According to USCBP data, there were nearly 14,000 encounters with Cuban migrants in the state in October and November 2022, compared to approximately 35,000 for the year up to September 30.

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