At least 500 migrants have arrived in the Florida Keys in recent days and local authorities have called it a “crisis.”
Economic turmoil, food shortages and runaway inflation in Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean are fueling the latest wave of migration. A US national park comprising a group of uninhabited islands in the Florida Keys closed Monday after the arrival of 300 migrants over the weekend, officials said.
Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) west of Key West, was closed so police and medical personnel could test the migrants before taking them to Key West, the park tweeted.
“The closure, which is anticipated to last several days, is necessary for the safety of visitors and staff due to the resources and space needed to assist migrants,” park officials said in a statement.
The US Customs and Border Protection office tweeted that at least 88 migrants were from Cuba.
The national park is on the southern tip of the continental United States and draws scuba divers and snorkelers for its coral reefs, nesting sea turtles, tropical fish and shipwrecks.
In a news release, Monroe County Police Chief Rick Ramsay criticized the federal response to the surge in immigrant arrivals, saying local resources were being stretched.
Source: El Nuevo Herald