The US Coast Guard turned 273 migrants back to Matanzas, Cuba, over the weekend after an operation to stop them from the Florida Keys.
More than 4,400 immigrants from Cuba and Haiti have managed to reach the state’s shores by boat since August, officials said, with more than 700 of them arriving in the Florida Keys over New Year’s weekend. Many arrived on makeshift motorized rafts that were used to make the perilous 100-mile (160-kilometre) journey across the dangerous Florida Straits to Communist Island.
For this reason, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the mobilization of the Florida National Guard on Friday. For now, the National Guard has not responded to an email seeking comment on the measure.
However, the governor said in a statement Friday that the state would deploy planes, helicopters and maritime patrols to the region “to strengthen waterborne operations and ensure the safety of migrants attempting to reach Florida through the Florida Straits.” “
There was no official information on the number of migrants who arrived in the Florida Keys over the weekend.
In a statement sent on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida condemned the governor’s actions, noting that migrants are making the sea voyage to escape “immense political and economic distress” in their countries of origin .
ACLU CEO Tiffany Lennon said, “As migrants arrive on our shores, our first priority as a state must be to ensure that all are safe, healthy, cared for and treated humanely.”
Lennon said, “Instead of politicizing the issue, elected officials should be working with grassroots groups and helping organizations that have offered to receive and support migrants and asylum seekers.”
On Friday, DeSantis criticized the immigration policies of Democratic President Joe Biden and the federal government and its response to migrants arriving in the Florida Keys.