TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s governor plans to fight a federal plan to fly hundreds of immigrants from the Mexican border to two South Florida counties, saying Friday he’ll take his case to President Donald Trump.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis made his remarks a day after being caught off guard when Broward and Palm Beach county officials said they were notified by U.S. Border Patrol that more than a 100 immigrants would be sent weekly to each of the counties starting in about two weeks.
“We cannot accommodate in Florida just dumping unlawful migrants into our state. I think it will tax our resources, the schools, the health care, law enforcement, state agencies,” DeSantis told reporters in Sarasota after a bill signing ceremony.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Thursday he was notified of the plans by the Miami-based office of the U.S. Border Patrol, and that a total of 1,000 people per month would be brought to the two counties from the El Paso, Texas, area. He said immigrant parents and children would be processed in both Florida counties, given a notice to appear in court, and then released into the community.
“If you believe what was leaked and reported, the plan would be to simply put migrants out on the street,” DeSantis said. “This would be potentially just releasing people into our society. With someone just coming across the border, we have no idea what their background is, we don’t know what type of criminal activity they’ve been involved in. We don’t know anything.”
DeSantis wasn’t aware of the plans until county officials reported the information to the media. He said he was on the phone with the White House on Thursday.
“This was not something that came down from the White House. This was something that came out of the agency. Sometimes this stuff happens. It’s gonna ultimately be something I’m going to have to talk to the president about,” DeSantis said.
Trump and DeSantis have a close relationship. Trump’s endorsement propelled DeSantis from underdog status to ultimate winner in last year’s governor’s race, and DeSantis has met with him several times in the White House, securing promises to increase hurricane aid and federal money for Everglades restoration.
DeSantis also noted that he recently signed a bill banning sanctuary cities and appeared upset that the plan to send immigrants to Florida came after the pledge to help federal immigration authorities.
“We basically as a state said, `We’re going to work with the federal government constructively. We’re going to work with them to help them remove criminal aliens. We’re not going to be like some of these other states that are not allowing federal authorities to come into a jail or a courthouse,”‘ he said. “We’ve been very cooperative.”