Ron DeSantis at the border: Majority of ‘criminal aliens’ are Florida-bound
Ron DeSantis.

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'70% of the people they have interdicted said their ultimate destination is the state of Florida.'

Florida is receiving a significant share of people crossing the Mexican border illegally, Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a border tour Saturday.

The Governor visited the border and state law enforcement officers, whom he deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border late last month at the request of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey. During a news conference at the border town of Del Rio, Texas, DeSantis and Abbott highlighted the record number of people arriving at the border while blaming President Joe Biden and his administration’s immigration policies for that and a rise in crime because of “open border policies.”

Both governors are possible contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. That was apparently when both tripped over each other to begin the news conference — Abbott, the host, saying “I’ll kick it off” before DeSantis, speaking over him, launched into his opening message.

“Seventy percent of the people they have interdicted said their ultimate destination is the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “This is something that every time there’s a wave across that border, I’m not saying it’s 70% in every single part of the border, but for here, it’s the majority.”

North Florida in particular, but even the state at large and the nation have seen an increase in border-related crimes, including drug crimes involving fentanyl and methamphetamine. The controversial move to send Florida state officers hundreds of miles away to the southern border would help cut off crime.

“Your success is really America’s success. We need this to work,” DeSantis said, adding that individual states have to step up until the federal government does.

Abbott said criminals like human traffickers and smugglers sometimes bring children and trap them in northern states or smuggling drugs.

“What happens at the border may be happening here today, but it will be happening in these other states tomorrow or next week or next month,” Abbott said.

Critics have questioned the role of states and their taxpayers to double up on the federal government’s job to patrol the border. The Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission all agreed to send officers as part of the state’s deployment.

“We’re dealing with the trauma right now, and the first thing you do when you deal with trauma is you stabilize the trauma, and you worry about the bills later,” Abbott said.

In mid-June, Abbott and Ducey sent a letter to the nation’s 48 other governors requesting assistance at the border. The governors of California and New Mexico, the other two border states, are Democrats.

In response to that letter, DeSantis charged that Florida’s rising crime rate isn’t “organic” but rather caused by criminal immigrants.

DeSantis was joined by a platoon of state officials, including Attorney General Ashley Moody, Senate President Wilton Simpson, FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen, Florida Highway Patrol Col. Gene Spaulding, and several Texas counterparts.

Also on hand, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd, calling it inhumane to not enforce immigration laws.

“It is inhumane that liberal policies are inviting individuals to put themselves in the hands of these dangerous cartels. It is inhumane that liberal policies are allowing the smuggling, and when we try to properly interdict these individuals, they just throw children into the river to distract us,” Judd said.

Nikki Fried, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner and a Democratic candidate for Governor, criticized DeSantis shortly after the visit was announced.

“Ron DeSantis acts more like the Governor of Fox News than the Governor of Florida,” Fried tweeted.

Fried’s reaction mirrored the response of Democrats when DeSantis announced plans to mobilize police to the region.

In a letter to DeSantis, 16 Democrats, including Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, decried the deployment as politically motivated. They also argued the move endangered Floridians, who now are protected by fewer officers.

“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.

While DeSantis stole the opening lines of the news conference, Abbott soon wrested control, passing the stage to several local law enforcement officers.

DeSantis had a strong showing in a straw poll during last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). With former President Donald Trump on the ballot, DeSantis still drew 21% support to Trump’s 70%. But without Trump, DeSantis drew 68% support while Abbott netted only 1%. That was despite CPAC being held in Dallas this year.

The visit to Texas is the first leg of a trip to the Southwest. He will be in Aspen, Colorado, next week for a Republican Governors Association meeting.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


22 comments

  • DR LARRY MYERS

    July 17, 2021 at 5:46 pm

    WITH COMPASSION and insight, pLAYWRIGHT DR. LARRY MYERS HONORED THE BRAVE COURAGEOUS IMMIGRANTS WHO CAME TO AMERICA FOR A BETTER LIFE. EXAMINING the facts of their lives and what they are escaping one knows what prompted their arrival. His “Immigration Braille” a stage work testifies to all this.
    Shame on the Catholics who would condemn them .We pray for them and put our pens where our mouths are rather than further persecuting them!

    Reply

  • Michael Hoffmann

    July 17, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    The Gov. should be in Florida beating the drums for COVID vaccination which, by the by, he and wife have received.

    Some freedom — the leadership gets vaccinated but let’s the fans make their own choice.

    Reply

  • Tom

    July 17, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    You are distorted Hoffman.
    Dishonest and dis Ingenuous.
    Typical elite Dem. How dare you suggest that.
    This Governor has crisscrossed the state encouraging vaccine inoculation.
    In the past 48 hrs , Florida politics reported that CDR, coastal health care advocate has inoculated over 2.5 million Floridians in conjunction with the State. How is that possible? Due to our great Governor. Partnership of cooperation, something Dems no nothing about. Is America’s Governor & his spouse not allowed? As I recall the Governor waited til after all seniors had access. You owe an apology.

    Reply

    • tjb

      July 18, 2021 at 7:33 am

      Tom, stop making up false facts. Approximately 40,000 Floridians have directly died because of DeSantis’s poor efforts to stop the spread of Covid 19 is an opinion but if you looked at all the relevant information, Florida’s efforts to stop Covid 19 is far from the best in the USA.

      Reply

      • Tom

        July 18, 2021 at 1:22 pm

        Oh I guess in Florida under your liberal false narrative and hypocrisy no one was to perish in Florida. Per capita, yeah they lock downed since February of 2000. Bless those all that lost lives everywhere. My goodness. I guess all the ills are his fault? You libs are deranged.

        Reply

    • PeterH

      July 18, 2021 at 9:59 am

      FUN FACTS:
      Per capita more people have been infected and died of Covid in Florida than in California.

      Currently, Florida is number five in the nation for new COVID-19 infections.

      You can’t argue with FACTS. Take a look at the t-shirts DeSantis is selling in his re-election campaign shop.

      This grandstanding at the border is nothing more than political theater. Republicans have no ideas, no vision and hopefully no future.

      Join fellow conservatives at the Lincoln Project!

      Reply

      • Tom

        July 18, 2021 at 10:25 am

        Not only are you a fool you are ignorant. Any association with Lincoln project is corrupt, dishonest and creepy. It is a extremist organization which is openly dishonest. Taking a dishonest time capsule of possible stats and attempting to apply them in the most abstract is dishonest. DeSantis is the man willing to stand to liberal scream advocates such as yourself. What a joke. Not only are your stats distorted but your thought process. Lincoln project, blind leading the criminals. Shameful.

        Reply

  • Phil Morton

    July 18, 2021 at 3:01 am

    Dude, it was 2 million in April. They’ve only vaccinated 500,000 in the last 3 months. Michael Hoffman is correct. DeSantis has dropped the ball.

    Reply

    • Ed

      July 18, 2021 at 8:28 am

      When you said two million, I thought you were referencing the number of illegals that will cross the Southern Border by the end of the year. What a travesty not protecting our border. Thanks Sleepy and Giggles.

      Reply

    • Tom

      July 18, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Dude fool Phil. Gov opened, created, encouraged and provided the program. He can’t wrestle every person, tie them down, and inoculate them. You and your group have lost your minds. It was the Governor and his agency that have worked with CDR and the cloud to provide it Dude Figure it out.

      Reply

  • Tom

    July 18, 2021 at 10:15 am

    Dem Haters united, Usual suspects Hoffman, tjb, and Phil. Facts are funny things. Florida politics reported 2.5 million with this private public network which the state/Gov orchestrated. Liberal scream in play, what a joke the three of you are. This Governor did dozens on top dozens events encouraging vaccine. Seniors priority unlike women grabber Cuomo, and Fraulein Whitmer ( u can’t garden) you
    ingrates owe your freedom to Gov Ron and livelihoods. He’s a whiz kid Gov who read the science and didn’t destroy Florida like the Dems would. This cloud initiative reflects his brilliance unlike the Dems and their big brother efforts. Florida is the leader across the board due to the youngest chief executives leadership. America’s Governor is Florida’s leader. It’s hot, hot summer time and yes as the Gov said weeks ago we would see a spike. Get a shot, wear a mask if you like it’s America the Gov isn’t telling anyone not to. You Dems don’t want to mention Nikki frauds incompetence and profiting as commissioner. Oh what about Hunter and the WH for sale with fake paintings to be bid on. The news blackout is astonishing. This Governor in the last few weeks has dwelt with Surfside, Cuba, red tide, the illegal border and on going 100 yr pandemic. Florida is fortunate to have this great young leader as Dems like the three of you are ungrateful partisans. Dems know not what you speak. Liberal scream hysteria.

    Reply

  • Beth

    July 18, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Was Ronnie wearing his cowboy hat and riding a pony?? That dope never misses a chance to make a total fool of himself. He has never done anything that has not been politically motivated. We need an intelligent governor, a decent human being who has a passion for improving FL and helping it’s citizens. Time for Ronnie to be voted out.

    Reply

  • Tom

    July 18, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    Another hater arises.
    Hand wringers like you and the above referenced will see the beat down in Nov. of 22. You gotta have a non corrupt opponent to defeat him with, you don’t. DeSantis is America’s Governor. Florida has seen his leadership and is ready to re elect him with the future wide open.

    Reply

  • Deanna Randolph

    July 18, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    Would u rather of had the dope addict for a Governor. The one that was running on the Democratic ticket. The one they found overdosed in a hotel room. Our Governor is a brilliant man. We are very lucky to have him

    Reply

    • Tom

      July 18, 2021 at 10:36 pm

      Deanna well said, unfortunately Liberals are so partisan they’d vote yes for that person. There fine with Nikki Fraud making $$thousands as an elected official. It’s about the dogma.

      Reply

  • Tom

    July 18, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    Liberal silence Is golden!

    Reply

  • Netty

    July 19, 2021 at 11:05 am

    When you resort to name calling and prefer rhetoric to verifiable information, there is little left to discuss.

    Reply

  • Tom

    July 19, 2021 at 11:35 am

    What verifiable Info, misleading though.
    If shoe fits, use it.
    That’s all you Dems do are whine.
    Enough.
    2.5 million shots with a private sector program initiated by the Gov. Among other initiatives.
    Silence is golden.
    Go count Nike Frauds misleading financials.

    Reply

  • Ralph

    July 19, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    Tom needs his drum takin away

    Reply

  • Tom

    July 19, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    No drum just facts.
    You haters make me laugh.
    You can’t deal with steel kahones like DeSantis.
    America’s Governor #1.
    You Dems offer nothing except Liberal scream.
    Just Soros Manchurians, tom a tons

    Reply

  • Judy

    July 20, 2021 at 8:55 am

    More and More people ar using words like”mental cases’, insane,”sicko’s,’damaged through incarnation,’destructive,’anhialistic,’ and mostly ‘suicida,’ when speaking of democrats, the leftist, progressives,commies,etc. People all over the world have concluded that these people are truly sad, sick lost and bullied into true evilness or deep sickness.

    Reply

    • Tom

      July 20, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      No not really Judy.
      Everything Dems thru their media associates say and accuse they have done, twice over.
      You did a great job in your name calling outline. Just awful.
      You got your mission orders.

      Reply

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