Rubio Urges DHS To Respond To Migrant Crisis In Florida Keys

Text and photos: Courtesy Sen Marco Rubio’s office

From December 30, 2022, through January 5, 2023, more than 1,100 Cubans and Haitians arrived in the Florida Keys. This increase in migration has overwhelmed local resources and resulted in the activation of the Florida National Guard.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was briefed by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the impact of the migrant landings. Rubio also met with the U.S. Border Patrol, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Director of the Monroe County Emergency Operations Center in Key West.

“We see the impact of the Biden Administration’s failed immigration policies across the country, including here in the Keys. I appreciate the professionalism and dedication of the U.S. Coast Guard. They and our local first responders are doing their part, but they cannot do it alone. The strain on local resources and communities is real. It is only going to get worse unless the administration steps up to enforce the law.” – said Senator Rubio who sent a letter to U.S. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to express his concern and request additional federal support for Florida’s communities: “This situation is the predictable result of this administration’s open border policies, where as a result, migrants risks their lives on the makeshift boat (…)”.

“That message -continue saying Sen Rubio- has been complimented by lax border security measures and weak enforcement of our immigration laws. In Cuba, the Biden Administration continues to gloss over the regime’s abuse of political prisoners, its denial of basic human rights, and its failure to conduct free and fair elections. These policies, among others, have undeniably contributed to the increase of migrants arriving in the United States.

The data paints a clear picture of this point. Under this administration, the number of Cuban migrants interdicted by the U.S. Coast Guard near South Florida has surged from only 49 in 2020 to 6,182 for the entire fiscal year of 2022 – a record that will soon be eclipsed by the more than 4,000 Cuban migrants that have already been interdicted in just the three months since October 1, 2022. Unsurprisingly, the number of Haitian migrants interdicted by the Coast Guard near South Florida has also skyrocketed from 418 in 2020, to more than 7,000 in 2022. These numbers demonstrate an unmistakable trend of a worsening crisis that necessitates federal resources be deployed urgently and adequately. If they are not, Florida’s communities and their limited resources will continue to bear the brunt of handling an unprecedented number of migrant landings and face the real consequences of failed immigration policies. When migrants arrive, state governments, local communities, and other emergency personnel must spend valuable time, labor, and resources to provide medical care, personnel processing, and other critical space to look after hundreds of migrants that land unannounced and demand immediate attention. This diversion of resources hamstrings local and state efforts to assist Americans in need of help. That is not right. The federal government is responsible for enforcing our immigration laws. This administration can no longer afford to abdicate its role. With these concerns in mind, I request answers to the following questions:

  1. What strategy does the administration have in place, if any, to address the surge of migrants overwhelming South Florida and the Florida Keys?
    1.a. Do you anticipate the marked increase in migrants arriving to continue? If not, why?
  2. Will you commit to providing more manpower and resources to the State of Florida to handle the increase in migrant landings?
  3. Will you coordinate with state and local officials to reimburse resources that have been expended while caring for migrants in Florida?
  4. (…) Your administration announced new immigration protocols. In that announcement, please identify what specific measures, if any, the administration believes will provide additional support to the overwhelmed communities in Florida and reduce similar maritime landings in the future.

Thank you for your attention to this serious matter.

I look forward to your response.

Photo: Courtesy Marco Rubio`s office

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