Miami, Jan 8 (EFE).- Florida Highway Patrol officers on Sunday detained a group of Cuban migrants who had arrived illegally in the Florida Keys, an unusual situation reported by a local media outlet amid a maritime migration wave for which the state government has mobilized National Guard troops.
Six FHP officers responded to at least one of the two reported landings of Cuban migrants along US1 on Key Largo early Sunday morning, with no landings having been reported Saturday, the Miami Herald reported.
According to the daily, the number of FHP officers involved in the operation, although that highway patrol department normally deals with incidents on the Sunshine State’s roadways, is the number normally assigned to patrol the more than 120 miles of US1 each day throughout the Florida Keys.
One FHP source confirmed to the Herald that the officers had been dispatched from mainland Florida to support the Customs and Border Patrol amid the recent increased arrivals of Haitians and Cubans in the long chain of islands stretching southwest off the southern tip of Florida.
About 20 detained Cubans are visible in photographs published Sunday by the daily.
Walter N. Slosar, the CBP chief for the Miami Sector, said on Twitter on Sunday that at least two landings of migrants had occurred in the Keys and 53 Cubans had been apprehended, with four of them taken to a local hospital to be treated for dehydration.
The wave of undocumented migrants arriving in South Florida by boat has sparked a humanitarian crisis and obligated authorities to channel resources to attend to the more than 1,000 migrants who arrived last weekend at the Dry Tortugas National Park and in the Florida Keyes, federal authorities said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last Friday signed an executive order allowing him to mobilize National Guard troops and allocate state resources to deal with the migrant wave in the southern part of the state, as well as to help alleviate the pressure on local resources.
The executive order will enable state authorities to deploy air assets – including Florida National Guard airplanes and helicopters – the governor’s office said in a statement.
DeSantis, a Republican, said in his executive order that, just in October and November, the first two months of the 2023 Fiscal Year, the Border Patrol had detained more than 460,000 migrants trying to get into the US over the border with Mexico.
Slosar said in a recent statement that since Oct. 1, 2022, the Miami Sector has experienced a 400 percent increase in migrants arriving by sea and being detained upon landing.
Since Oct. 1, the US Coast Guard has intercepted 3,839 Cuban migrants at sea, a significant increase in detentions compared with the 838 intercepted during all of Fiscal Year 2021 and the 6,182 apprehended during all of Fiscal Year 2022.