Florida activates National Guard before arrival of 700 migrants

PA Agency

Florida, United States / 06.01.2023 18:51:40

The Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantismobilized on Friday the National Guard state government to help local officials manage the huge flow of cuban migrants They are arriving in the Keys.

DeSantis issued a decree to activate the National Guard and order state law enforcement agencies to support in the keys in response to the arrival of some 700 migrants —mostly Cubans— only on New Year’s weekend.

In a statement, Governor criticized US President Joe Biden and the immigration policies of the federal government and its response to the arrival of migrants in the Keys.

In his text, the governor did not mention the Biden administration’s announcement on Thursday about a new policy to start sending back Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the southern border illegally, as it already does with Venezuelans.

The federal government also said it would offer a humanitarian permit for until 30 thousand people of those four countries a month if they apply online, pay for their plane ticket and find a financial sponsor.

Some migrant rights activists said the new policy it could make things worse in Florida.

Ramon Raul Sanchez, of the American Cuban group Democracy Movementsaid that even more Cubans could risk their lives putting out to sea to reach the United States, instead of flying to Central America and arriving overland at the Texas border.

Blas Nunez Neto, Interim Undersecretary of Border Policy and Immigration of the Department of Homeland Securitysaid the new program could encourage Cubans not to come illegally by sea.

He indicated that Cubans could do better if they apply under the new permit program announced Thursday, because that would give them a possible path to obtaining the residency they otherwise they might not get it.

“Don’t risk your life at sea” because there are “much better options” under the new program, he said.

DeSantis said Florida will deploy planes, helicopters and marine patrols to the area “to support the water interceptions and guarantee the safety of migrants trying to reach Florida through the Florida Straits.

More of 4 thousand 400 migrantsmostly Cubans and some Haitians, have arrived by boat at Florida since August, at a time when those two countries are going through political and economic crises increasingly serious.

Because Washington and Havana do not have diplomatic relations, it is problematic for the US government to send back to the cubans to their country once they arrive in Florida.

Those who are detained at sea are returned, since Cuba does accept them.

Almost 8 thousand Cubans and Haitians have been intercepted since August, about 50 a day compared to 17 a day in fiscal year 2021-2022 and just two a day during fiscal year 2020-2021.

Officials said at least 65 migrants have died in the sea since August.


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