Over 500 migrants landed boats on Florida soil this weekend seeking asylum, and it's reportedly overwhelming local officials, according to the Miami Herald.
Around 300 people arrived at Dry Tortugas National Park, a group of islands 70 miles west of Key West, that usually requires a ferry to access.
One Twitter user who claimed to be a park visitor posted a video of one group landing with cheers on New Year’s Day.
As announced on the park’s website, Dry Tortugas was closed to visitors on Monday as local officials worked to provide care for the migrants, who they say mostly came from Cuba.
NEW RELEASE: Dry Tortugas National Park will temporarily close to the public on January 2 at 8 am while law enforcement & medical personnel evaluate, provide care for & coordinate transport to Key West for approximately 300 migrants who arrived in the park in the past couple days pic.twitter.com/5UiJ1vP2Lc— Dry Tortugas National Park (@DryTortugasNPS) January 1, 2023
Named for the many sea turtles found there — or “tortugas” in Spanish — the island cluster’s name includes “dry” because of its lack of fresh water, per the national park’s website.
Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said that dispatchers are overwhelmed as floods of calls are made to report the new arrivals, as reported by ABC affiliate WPLG.
Ramsay called the situation a “humanitarian crisis” brought upon by “federal failure,” as reported by the Miami Herald.
“This shows a lack of a working plan by the federal government to deal with a mass migration issue that was foreseeable,” Ramsay said, per the Miami Herald.
The park will remain closed for a few days until the situation is under control and the migrants are settled elsewhere, park officials told WPLG.