After a weekend visit to the Southern border, Gov. Ron DeSantis returned to Florida Monday with an urgent message for Floridians: President Joe Biden’s immigration policies are failing at the border.
Speaking at a press conference in Poinciana, DeSantis described the surge of narcotics and “criminal aliens” into the United States as “unprecedented.”
What’s more, he laid blame at Biden’s feet.
“Word is out that the U.S. isn’t going to defend its border…” DeSantis told reporters. “I think Biden is paying for tickets on buses and flying folks around.”
The Governor’s weekend trip comes weeks after he mobilized roughly 50 state law enforcement officers to patrol the region.
At a Domestic Security Oversight Council meeting in Tallahassee early Monday, FDLE Special Agent Mike Phillips shared details of the mission with Cabinet members.
In less than a month, Phillips said Florida officers alone made contact with more than 3,200 undocumented immigrants and executed roughly 142 arrests — 36 of which were in connection to human smuggling and 19 drug related.
“This is in no way the magnitude of the whole border,” Phillips said during the telephone meeting. “It’s just an area of sector that we’re working in.”
The 50 law enforcement officers include members of the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Back in Poinciana, DeSantis applauded the work, adding that 70% of those crossing the border said Florida is their “ultimate destination.”
“These are not just people coming from Mexico, Mexican citizens,” DeSantis said. “They’ve catalogued over 100 different countries of people that are coming through.”
Drugs, DeSantis said, are another issue.
“I knew, having spoken with a lot of folks throughout the State of Florida, particularly our rural sheriff’s, just how much that methamphetamine influx from the border is affecting these rural communities in particular,” DeSantis said. “And sure enough, you’re seeing unprecedented amounts of narcotics being brought across the border.”
According to provisional data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overdose deaths spiked in Florida amid the COVID-19 pandemic, surging at least 37% in 2020.