Gov. Ron DeSantis is pinning the rise of immigrants crossing the southern border and any consequences of it on the Biden administration.
The Governor visited Texas on Saturday after sending a team of state law enforcement officers to the U.S.-Mexico border. What they found was that 70% of immigrants they stopped hoped to eventually reach Florida.
During a press conference Thursday, DeSantis continued blaming the “influx” of migrants on President Joe Biden for reversing many of former President Donald Trump‘s immigration policies. That leads to increased crime, the Governor said, and he predicted the “sheer volume of people” would put stress on schools, health care and other services.
“It’s frustrating, because the ramifications of that are a deliberate choice that’s being made right now. And you know, it’s not not a choice that’s going to be beneficial,” DeSantis said.
According to numbers released Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection tallied 55,805 members of families with children in June, compared with 44,746 in May. While that 25% increase is large, the figure is far below the high of 88,587 in May 2019.
Overall, officials say they saw 5% more encounters with migrants trying to cross the border in June compared with May but attributed much of that increase to repeated attempts by people trying to get into the United States.
Pandemic–related powers that the government uses to rapidly expel most migrants from the country without allowing them to seek asylum has led to a larger-than-average number of migrants trying to cross multiple times, which means the numbers “somewhat overstate” how many are arriving at the border, Customs and Border Protection said in the monthly report.
Being expelled carries no legal consequences, so many people try to cross multiple times. The Trump administration issued the public health order in March 2020 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and Biden has largely kept it in place.
However, Biden has reversed the nation’s stance on sanctuary cities and canceled the “remain in Mexico” policy. The culmination of Biden’s policies is leading to a “huge, huge influx” of migrants and illegal activity, including drug smuggling and human trafficking, DeSantis said.
“When someone comes pouring across, what they do is they hand them over to the feds, and the feds just released them,” DeSantis said. “They’re releasing huge amounts of people into the country.”
In light of the travel restrictions against U.S. citizens wishing to visit Canada and Mexico because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor lamented that immigration continues unabated.
“COVID is not even anything they’re even talking about. They don’t get shots. They maybe, they may do some tests. I don’t know,” DeSantis said. “But the bottom line is, these are folks coming in from a whole bunch of different countries, mostly very poor countries that have, I’m sure, very minimal vaccination rates.”
Florida’s contingent of officers at the border, all volunteers, have stopped 3,000 immigrants and made more than 100 felony arrests, the Governor said. Texas has no plans to reimburse Florida for the cost of the mission, but both DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have emphasized the importance of stopping crime at the border before it reaches communities.
“We’ve had people in Florida killed by people that that that were here illegally and had already been deported,” DeSantis said. “You look at that, you look at the victims’ families — it’s like, had the government just enforced the law, that would not have happened.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Republished with permission.