- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2023

After 300 migrants arrived over the New Year’s holiday weekend, the Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys closed to visitors Monday.

“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,” the national park wrote on its website.

Dry Tortugas National Park is around 70 miles west of Key West. The park, like the rest of the Florida Keys, has seen an influx of migrants coming from Cuba. 

Outside of Dry Tortugas, an additional 160 migrants landed on the islands over the holiday weekend, with 30 people arriving in two groups in the Middle Keys on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Federal and local authorities have responded to the migrant landings. Homeland Security Task Force Southeast noted on Twitter that migrants will be removed and processed by law enforcement to determine whether they will remain in America or be deported.

“Irregular, illegal maritime migration is always dangerous and very often deadly. #DontTakeToTheSeas,” Coast Guard Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson, director of Homeland Security Task Force-Southeast, wrote in a tweet.

Local authorities placed the blame for the sudden surge on the border policies of the federal government.

“This shows a lack of a working plan by the federal government to deal with a mass migration issue that was foreseeable,” Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a Facebook post.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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