By John Haughey
The Center Square
August 27, 2021

During the first six months of 2021, more than 6,250 “unaccompanied alien minors” were transported to Florida by the federal government and released to sponsors with little oversight, Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

Other than that, the governor says there’s little information provided by the federal government about where people detained for attempting to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border are being housed and how many are now in Florida.

In a five-page letter dispatched Thursday to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, DeSantis is demanding that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by Sept. 30 provide data detailing “the number of aliens without lawful status, including unaccompanied minors, apprehended at the southwest border whom DHS knows has resettled in Florida since January 2021.”

The letter requests DHS provide names of detained illegal aliens in Florida, as well as the names and addresses of their sponsors, and “dates and locations of their removal proceedings.”

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on Aug. 19 ruled against President Joe Biden’s immigration policies and ordered DHS to deport criminals in the country illegally upon release from jails and prisons.

The decision is “an important public safety ruling,” said Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody who, in March, also sued the Biden administration over immigration enforcement in a case now before the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In an Aug. 19 memo, Moody alerted Florida sheriffs to guidance issued by U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) after the ruling “to resume the transfer of custody of criminals in the country illegally upon completion of their sentences.”

Moody joined DeSantis Thursday in Orlando to say unknown number of undocumented – and unvaccinated – border-detained people are being funneled into Florida under the Biden administration’s “reckless immigration policies” with little state and local coordination.

DeSantis said Biden is “refusing to enforce immigration laws enacted by Congress.”

The governor said when visiting Florida law enforcement officers deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in July, they told him that seven-of-10 aliens they found trying to cross the border said they were eventually bound for Florida.

“When someone comes pouring across, what they do is they hand them over to the feds,” DeSantis said. “And the feds just released them. They’re releasing huge amounts of people into the country.”

“President Biden, Vice President Harris, and their administration have refused to fulfill their responsibility to enforce immigration laws enacted by Congress and the resulting influx of unvetted illegal aliens endangers our national security and undermines the socioeconomic wellbeing of hardworking American citizens,” he said in a statement accompanying the letter to Mayorkas.

“Unfortunately, even though the federal government is responsible for immigration enforcement,” he said, “it is the states who bear the brunt of this administration’s reckless immigration policies.“

In his letter, DeSantis notes what Florida law enforcement officers told him while they were on the border.

“To fill the void left by the federal government, Florida deployed its own law enforcement officers to the border, and they’ve (been) told that many of the illegal aliens apprehended there plan to end up in Florida,” he wrote. “Floridians welcome responsible immigration that serves the interests of our citizens, but we cannot abide the lawlessness that this administration is aiding and abetting, and frankly encouraging, on the southwest border.”

DeSantis in the letter urges undocumented immigrants be resettled in states “flouting” immigration laws rather than those like Florida that adhere to it.


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Richard Norman Kurpiers
Richard Norman Kurpiers (@guest_62268)
1 year ago

I’m going to give some credit to DeSantis and his team and go on the assumption that he knows full well that the identities and location of unaccompanied minors awaiting immigration proceedings are protected under Federal law. This includes the names and locations of sponsors since with that information one can easily obtain information about the minors.

Thus, the other assumption here is that DeSantis is guilty of political grandstanding – which is his modus operandi of late as the election cycle nears. In other words, demand what you know cannot be legally granted and then accuse the other party of malfeasance for not complying. The ignorant will eat it up. The educated will see it for what it is.

Elizabeth Huben
Elizabeth Huben (@guest_62292)
1 year ago

Whoever is here and no matter how they got here (with likely many more coming soon of the 105,000 extricated from Afghanistan) DeSantis is right to demand full transparency for who is here. The 2020 census data was been made instantly obsolete this last six months by Biden’s unlawful, unchecked, open-border practices. How many teachers is Florida going to need to teach the children enrolling? Translators? What state-level health, housing, food services will be needed to care for these folks? And most importantly – how will any of this get paid for? The president continues to willfully ignore federal immigration law (despite the order to reinstate the “remain in Mexico” policy) and is leaving it to the states to mop up his mess with cash from FL taxpayer’s pockets. In the context of rising inflation Biden has also bestowed upon us, this is yet another in a long string of ill-conceived and poorly executed examples of social justice gone off the rails.

Richard Norman Kurpiers
Richard Norman Kurpiers (@guest_62293)
1 year ago

Let’s begin by being honest here. When you refer to “these folks” what you’re really saying is “children”. Under Title 42, which Biden has extended indefinitely, illegals making it across the border and apprehended are immediately expelled with the exception of those who are deemed “vulnerable” and processed as humanitarian exemptions to Title 42. (Those exemptions have since ended). The other exception being unaccompanied children which were allowed to remain while their immigration status is determined. As of this past Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied a request by the Biden administration to stay a lower court order requiring it to restart the “Migrant Protection Protocols.” In effect, it ordered the new administration to reinstate MPP. The Biden administration has said it would respectfully comply. So the question is, between today (Sunday) and this past Tuesday do you have evidence that Biden is violating the latest SCOTUS ruling? Or the better question is, are you now happy that unaccompanied children are being abandoned by the U.S. to an unknown future which may include starvation, homelessness, abuse, and sex trafficking?

In the larger picture what may be forgotten is that it takes two to tango. Mexico has since ended its support of the MPP program on its side of the border and it has not agreed to resume housing and caring for immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. So it matters not if the U.S. reinstates MPP if Mexico declines to reciprocate. And before you say or think “not our problem”, I suggest you research and understand Internation Law, specifically the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 14).

Elizabeth Huben
Elizabeth Huben (@guest_62296)
1 year ago

Respectfully – Over 1 million people of all ages have crossed our southern border since January of this year. Thousands upon thousands of them, of ALL ages, have been permitted to stay. They are being distributed by the US government around our country to the states including Florida. I understand that MPP has been upheld by the court. Where is the documentation indicating how many folks have actually been returned under MPP (or for any other reasons)? If you have a source, I would love to read it. The truth is, we have the astounding numbers of encounters from CBP for every month since January but we have no companion numbers telling us precisely how many are still in tents in McAllen, where folks have gone or how many have been incarcerated or returned to their home countries. Why is that? Why don’t we all have a complete detailed picture of what is actually going on in our own country? The US is now winding down on the evacuation of some 100+ thousand people out of Afghanistan (depending on which “talking head” you listen to +/- 5000 of them are Americans maybe?). The government acknowledges they are now flying them into the US as well. My question – which I think is the same as Mr. DeSantis’, doesn’t every state including FL, have a right to know who and how many people they are expected to absorb from these mass migrations if for no other reason than to try to figure out how they will address their ongoing needs for housing, food, medical care (including Covid) and, in the case of the unaccompanied children, schooling? How does the Governor effectively address impacts (including cost) if doesn’t have the information? Without detailed info, FL will be stuck failing to plan. Ultimately that means we are planning to fail all Floridians, old and new.

Richard Norman Kurpiers
Richard Norman Kurpiers (@guest_62298)
1 year ago

All the questions you ask have answers readily found if you just take the time to look. Frankly, I’m exhausted doing the work for you and others like you who are full of inaccurate information with nothing other than politicians and right-wing media chumming the waters to stir up your emotions.

But I will lead you in the right direction. Look for websites that end in *.gov for the answers to your questions. It’s all there. Of course, if you believe everything is a conspiracy or a plot to turn the country socialist then there’s nothing to be done except hope that voters continue to reject the lies that have become the trademark of the Republican Party. And I say this as an Independent who has voted Republican as often as Democrat in past elections.

Robert Warner
Robert Warner (@guest_62294)
1 year ago

Betsy – Think you are off on a tangent here. DeSantis has created more issues with transparency and covid than any issues involving cross border immigration. Willfully ignore…? We had 4 years of that before Joe Biden was elected in every area of Government oversight, across all Agencies – and they, including DeSantis, still “willfully ignore” the January 6th attempt at overthrowing our government.

Elizabeth Huben
Elizabeth Huben (@guest_62297)
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Warner

So – I hear what you are saying about the Gov, transparency and Covid and I actually think that is its own peccadillo. I did not mention Covid earlier because I truly want to know how these folks are going to be plugged into ALL the various health and human services in our state and how that gets paid for. I do not think it is a tangent to look at the numbers being published daily about all the people and all the needs. I am legitimately overwhelmed by the sheer size of the problems. I have not heard Mr. Biden say he is sending a check to help FL?Mr. DeSantis cover short falls or balance the state books. Many of the NGOs who have been trying to help are overrun and out of resources. The request is fair. Since you brought it up – If I were coming back to the US from the UK at MCO, I would have provide a lot of transparency and show my visa/passport and a proof of vaccination or three-day negative Covid test. (At least I think those are the rules today. It’s all seems pretty fluid.) Are we checking folks new to FL from elsewhere for same? Are we enrolling the new folks in our state’s vaccination database? Are we booking folks who are new to the FL for their booster(s)? If they get Covid and get hospitalized, wind up in the ICU on a ventilator how exactly does that all work? If we truly do not have these or any of the other answers, how does the state manage to not go bust?

Robert Warner
Robert Warner (@guest_62302)
1 year ago

Good post, but leadership matters. I wish DeSantis thought more for himself and hadn’t used Texas as his model.

Jacquelin Osborne
Jacquelin Osborne (@guest_62340)
1 year ago

sounds reasonable to me.

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