KEY LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — The “mass migrant crisis” affecting the Florida Keys continued to worsen Tuesday as a sailboat carrying another 200 migrants landed in Key Largo.
NBC affiliate WTVJ said a vessel carrying around 200 migrants from Haiti ran aground about half a mile away from the coast of Key Largo.
The migrants then made their way to a residential area.
Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Miami Sector said agents were responding to the area and told citizens traveling in the area to take precautions as they give space to the responding partner agencies.
The new arrival added further stress to law enforcement officials who were already trying to handle the hundreds of Cuban migrants that landed in the Keys over the last few days.
At the Dry Tortugas National Park, the arrival of 300 Cuban migrants over the weekend caused the park to close as park personnel worked to evaluate and care for the migrants before they were transferred to Key West.
Another 190 migrants arrived at other parts of the Keys over the last few days, according to WTVJ.
Slosar said since Oct. 1, 2022, the Miami Sector has seen “over a 400% increase in migrant encounters.”
In a statement released Monday, Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay called the situation a “humanitarian crisis” caused by the federal government’s failure to act.
“This shows a lack of a working plan by the federal government to deal with a mass migration issue that was foreseeable,” Ramsay said.
To help intercept any further migrant landings in the Miami Sector, the U.S. Border Patrol established a toll-free hotline at 877-772-8146 for community members to report suspicious activity.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office also asked residents to notify them of incoming arrivals and give them a location.