KEY WEST, Fla. — Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said the Biden administration is in no position to criticize Governor Ron DeSantis' (R) deployment of National Guardsmen deal with the increase in illegal boat landings in the Florida Keys because the federal government has failed in protecting the country's borders.
Ramsay told Townhall people landing on American shores in his jurisdiction used to happen about once a week or a few times a month and it would mainly consist of small groups of four or five. Boats that are landing these days are coming on a near daily basis with larger numbers of people, mainly filled with Haitians and Cubans. This has taxed the rural county's sheriff's office and EMS services as manpower has been drawn to taking care of the ever increasing number of people who have been making landfall.
In response, DeSantis declared a state of emergency and ordered the Florida National Guard, along with state law enforcement, to be sent to the Keys to reinforce the Sheriff's Office. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the deployment one of the latest "political stunts" from DeSantis.
"First and foremost, I think the Governor is doing a great job. It's his job to protect the citizens and visitors in Florida and make sure Florida is safe, so his actions are definitely are appropriate. He's doing what he needs to do because, I believe, the federal government has failed in this aspect," Ramsay said. "Immigration is the responsibility of the federal government. They've had plans and policies in place that they have not been following."
"It's almost turning into a humanitarian crisis for those people who are coming here who think they are going to be taken care of and they wind up on the streets, it's not fair to them...The [federal] government doesn't seem to have a plan, if they do, it's sure as heck not working. So I think the federal government has failed," he added. "Who has succeeded and doing their job is Governor DeSantis and the state of Florida. They are stepping up and taking action that they shouldn't have to take because this problem should not exist. This is a manmade problem by the federal government."
The National Guard elements that have been deployed mainly consist of air crews so helicopters can conduct patrols along the Keys to locate and report boats that are inbound. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Highway Patrol are reinforcing on land so the sheriff's office can focus on servicing residents and visitors.
FDLE members, working with our Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, local regional law enforcement partners, FWC and FHP partners, are supporting the response to the current mass migration situation in the Florida Keys and impacted areas.#Service pic.twitter.com/6l80hh4IFM— FDLE (@fdlepio) January 14, 2023
FDLE has 2 dozen members deployed in Monroe County responding to the surge in migration. As migrants are at greater risk of human trafficking and other crimes, we are gathering intelligence, conducting investigations and assisting our federal, state and local partners. pic.twitter.com/YdS4FeKAwm— FDLE (@fdlepio) January 13, 2023
Ramsay explained while Coast Guard ships have been doing what they can to intercept vessels attempting to reach American shores, it has gotten to the point where they will tell his office they can not intercept any more boats because their own ships are at or exceeding capacity.
"So when they have no room, they stop doing interdictions because they can't take the people aboard the boats. So when they can't interdict, they call us and say, 'We're tracking 30 target inbound. We have no more capacity to intercept...' We've had that [happen] multiple times."