Florida’s 16 Democratic senators are protesting Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ deployment of law enforcement officers to the Mexican border and urging him to reverse his order.
The Democrats, led by Democratic Leader Lauren Book, wrote DeSantis Thursday afternoon decrying the deployment as questionable in need and likely political in motivation — and dangerous for Floridians, who now are protected by fewer officers.
In the letter, the Democrats contend that the federal government already is deploying people into border areas so there is no need for DeSantis to “sacrifice the safety of our state for what appears to be political posturing.”
“The State of Florida, however, cannot afford to lose much-needed law enforcement personnel to bolster what many see as little more than a political stunt,” they added.
On Wednesday, DeSantis said Florida is the first state to answer calls from the governors of Texas and Arizona, both Republicans, to increase law enforcement activity at the nation’s border with Mexico. The Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and several sheriffs’ offices have already agreed to send officials.
Democrats urged him to reverse that decision.
“We, the undersigned Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, are writing today to call on you to reverse your questionable decision to dispatch members of Florida’s law enforcement community out of our state and elsewhere for what appears to be purely political purposes,” the Democrats wrote. “On behalf of the millions of diverse constituents the Senate Democratic Caucus represents, we urge you to consider the dangers such a move presents.”
In announcing the deployment, DeSantis charged that Florida’s rising crime rate isn’t “organic” but rather is caused by criminal immigrants that President Joe Biden‘s border and immigration policies are allowing to come across the border.
Democrats scoffed at that conclusion. However, they did agree the violent crime rate is rising in Florida.
For that reason, they argued, Floridians need those law enforcement officers in Florida, not in Texas or Arizona.
“Your choice to divert Florida officers away from their local communities where they are desperately needed will handicap efforts to combat this critical and urgent public safety issue,” the Democrats’ letter states.
“Additionally, summer tourist season is upon us; with a reopened economy, surging numbers in communities coast-to-coast will demand a greater police presence to safeguard and protect Floridians and visitors alike,” the letter adds.