Why redirect migrants to Delaware and Washington when you could send them back to Mexico?
Gov. Ron DeSantis says Texas should stave off the path of immigrants entering the country illegally by turning them around and sending them back south of the border.
“They let them come across and then you give them to the feds, and the feds just release them anyways,” DeSantis said. “What they need to do, Texas, is Texas should just send them back across the border.”
Nearly a year ago, DeSantis answered the call when Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey requested the Governors of the nation’s 48 other states send law enforcement to the southern border, calling their states ground zero for a disaster and emergency to which President Joe Biden was failing to react.
After sending 50 officers to Texas, DeSantis traveled to the Lone Star State to view the border with Abbott. What DeSantis saw has apparently stuck with him, as he called the federal border policy the last year and a half “absolutely catastrophic.”
“Who cares what the feds are saying? They’re not doing their job,” DeSantis said. “Or not let them come across the border to begin with, because they go right across the river. They just walk right across. No one’s stopping. Some pushback, I think, would be good. And I would send people to help with that.”
That pushback would likely be spearheaded by Abbott, who, like DeSantis, has become a national conservative leader. Also like DeSantis, Abbott has been floated as a possible candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Polling has repeatedly shown DeSantis outpacing Abbott in a hypothetical 2024 Primary, even in Texas. Neither Governor has expressed their intent to run despite reports they each are setting the stage to run, and reports have circulated in recent days that former President Donald Trump will soon announce a bid to retake the White House.
However, it hasn’t stopped the pair from taking cues from each other when it comes to opposing the Biden administration, including on the border.
Since December, DeSantis has proposed sending immigrants who enter the country illegally to Delaware — Biden’s home state — and other “sanctuary states.” The Florida Legislature approved $12 million for that purpose in the coming fiscal year’s budget, which DeSantis signed a week ago. DeSantis also has said he will soon sign legislation for Florida to cut ties with transportation companies if the businesses participate in programs to transport to Florida people who are in the country illegally (SB 1808).
In April, after news broke that the Biden administration planned to end Title 42 expulsions, Abbott announced a similar plan to bus migrants to the nation’s capital, first with taxpayer dollars, then with crowdfunded income. By mid-May, Abbott’s office announced Texas had sent more than 900 immigrants to Washington. Meanwhile, DeSantis’ program isn’t off the ground yet.
DeSantis and Abbott have been measuring caravans, literally.
“There’s a massive, massive caravan that’s coming towards the southern border right now. And what is Biden doing? He’s fumbling around on late-night TV shows,” DeSantis said. “He needs to get in the game here, and he needs to defend our country’s sovereignty because that’s going to absolutely overwhelm not just Texas, but it’s going to overwhelm a lot of other communities throughout the United States of America.”
Thursday afternoon, Abbott tweeted photos of him meeting with state immigration response officials.
“Met with (Operation Lone Star) agency officials today to discuss preparation and strategies for the migrant caravan headed our way,” Abbot wrote.
For DeSantis, the recent increase in migrant crossings is a public safety concern, even for non-border states. Fentanyl and human trafficking impacts.
DeSantis also suggested there also are political implications in border regions.
“All those communities now, traditionally, (have) been blue areas,” DeSantis said. “They’re all going to go very dark red and the election because of the border and because (of) a lot of these other bad policies, the wokeness and all this other stuff. People are absolutely responding, and nobody’s listening in D.C.”
Neither Abbott’s Office nor the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is analogous to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, responded to Florida Politics’ inquiry into whether Texas and state law enforcement have the authority to return immigrants to Mexico.
Last updated on June 10, 2022