State resources deployed in Florida Keys in response to migrant surge

MARATHON, Fla. – As migrants, primarily from Cuba and Haiti, continue to arrive in the Florida Keys, more state law enforcement officials are now joining the efforts to tackle the unprecedented crisis.

It comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis activated the Florida National Guard in response to the migrant surge.

Troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol and agents from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were present in Marathon, coordinating efforts to respond to the crisis.

An FHP lieutenant said the agency’s mission will be primarily humanitarian. Troopers will be stocked up with supplies and water for arriving migrants.

The hope is that state troopers can relieve some of the pressure on local law enforcement, particularly the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which has had to respond to migrant landings on top of its role of providing general policing to much of the Keys.

Local 10 News spoke to Florida Director of Emergency Management Kevin Guthrie on “This Week in South Florida” on Sunday.

“The governor made that decision and his leadership, he brought those agencies together, said ‘We’re going to respond to this, we’re going to do what’s best for Florida,’” Guthrie said. “We’re going to attempt to supplement the United States Coast Guard and help them on identifying and targeting vessels that are coming here illegally.”

Watch Guthrie’s full interview here.

Local leaders told Local 10 News that they appreciate the help.

“Not only is it going to be helpful for our sheriff and our police departments, when the migrants do come in a large amount, it also, I believe, as this information gets out to Cuba, in the Caribbean, that it may deter some of the migrants from coming over here,” Monroe County Mayor Craig Cates said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are also helping to supplement local and federal law enforcement agencies in the Keys.

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.