TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor DeSantis demanded that the Biden-Harris administration cease any further resettlement in Florida of the large number of illegal aliens apprehended at the southwest border. These individuals who entered the country illegally have no lawful status under federal immigration law, and the federal government should not facilitate their resettlement in the Sunshine State, hundreds of miles away from the border.
“President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their administration have refused to fulfill their responsibility to enforce immigration laws enacted by Congress and the resulting influx of unvetted illegal aliens endangers our national security and undermines the socioeconomic wellbeing of hardworking American citizens,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Unfortunately, even though the federal government is responsible for immigration enforcement, it is the states who bear the brunt of this administration’s reckless immigration policies.
“I have been to the border and I observed firsthand the chaos that this administration’s policies have created. To fill the void left by the federal government, Florida deployed its own law enforcement officers to the border, and they’ve told me that many of the illegal aliens apprehended there plan to end up in Florida. Floridians welcome responsible immigration that serves the interests of our citizens, but we cannot abide the lawlessness that this administration is aiding and abetting, and frankly encouraging, on the southwest border.”
In a letter sent to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Governor DeSantis calls attention to the administration’s disastrous immigration policies and requests an end to the mass resettlement of illegal aliens into the United States. At the very least, Governor DeSantis urges the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide more transparency concerning the resettlement of illegal aliens in Florida and to consult in advance with state leadership before illegal aliens are resettled in the state.
The number of encounters at the southwest border have skyrocketed from 78,417 in January 2021 to 212,672 in July 2021, a 171% increase and the highest in more than 20 years.
The number of illegal aliens who were issued a notice to appear or order of recognizance and subsequently released by the Border Patrol in July alone was a staggering 59,691, a massive increase from the 1,324 in this category who were released in January. By contrast, in the last full month of the Trump administration, only 17 aliens in this category were released.
Recent decisions in the federal courts blocking the administration’s termination of the “Remain in Mexico” program and its policy of refusing to detain and deport certain criminal aliens confirm Governor DeSantis’ position that the administration’s immigration program is fundamentally lawless and does not comply with federal immigration law.
The letter also requests that DHS provides information to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) no later than September 30, 2021, regarding:
the number of illegal aliens resettled in Florida;
the names and destination of the illegal aliens;
the number of illegal aliens resettled in Florida who were tested for COVID-19 and the results of such tests;
the identities of illegal aliens who have criminal records and who have previously entered the U.S. illegally; and
the number and identity of illegal aliens resettled in Florida who have failed to appear for their removal proceedings.
Through a mutual aid agreement with the State of Texas and at the direction of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, FDLE, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) deployed agents, officers and support personnel to supplement the Texas Department of Public Safety in Operation Lone Star. During the course of Operation Lone Star, FDLE, FHP, and FWC reported:
9,171 undocumented migrant contacts, including:
o 311 criminal arrests;
o 79 human smuggling cases;
o 16 stolen vehicle cases;
o 43 narcotics cases; and
o 4 drug seizures.
Further, Florida agents interviewed numerous undocumented migrants and, in those conversations, many of the groups indicated their final destination being Florida’s larger cities such as Kissimmee, Orlando, Miami, Hialeah, and Jacksonville.
In April, Governor DeSantis requested that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) take into custody and ultimately remove all illegal alien felons who have completed their prison sentences in Florida. Additionally, Governor DeSantis requests that ICE notify FDLE, as well as local law enforcement agencies, of all such felons released from ICE custody in Florida.
Media Release: Office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
August 26, 2021
Photo: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Photo/Pensacola News Journal