Ron DeSantis caught off guard by federal migrant plan

18 May, 2019, 04:13 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Florida officials worry U.S. may send them hundreds of migrants and no resources

DeSantis said he was going to communicate with President Trump, according to the Orlando Sentinel, asserting, "Nothing's concrete". But transporting migrants to South Florida is a possibility as part of "contingency" plans, the newspapers reported.

"We do not have any aircraft flying into Florida at this time, but we are looking at capacity building", the Sun Sentinel quoted a federal official as saying.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said 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.

But the reality of thousands of undocumented migrants arriving in Broward and Palm Beach counties has leaders scrambling. But White House aides have said the focus of discussions is primarily about redistributing of migrants across the country to lighten the burden on border states. (The "surge" is still smaller than previous peaks during the early 2000s, plus migrants have a legal right to seek asylum at foreign borders; critics note that in many cases, Central American migrants are fleeing violence and despair caused partly by American foreign-policy decisions.) In addition to trying to build a wall between the States and Mexico, Trump has tried to make it more hard for immigrants to seek legal asylum and just yesterday said in a speech he wants the United States to give green cards only to people with high levels of education or those who pass "patriotism tests".

"We think it's a unsafe plan", said Bradshaw.

But the situation is freaky given how much time and effort Trump's team has put into cultivating faith and support in Florida, and DeSantis mentioned Friday that the Legislature just passed a law banning sanctuary cities.

But CBP now says there's been a misunderstanding, and that there are no flights scheduled to South Florida, and they may never come.

US authorities have already been using buses and aircraft to move migrants to cities both on and away from the border, including Phoenix; Albuquerque, New Mexico; San Antonio and Colorado.

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"We want a better plan from our federal government", Palm Beach County Mayor Mack Bernard, a Haitian-born Democrat, said at a news conference. But the federal plan has no provisions for housing and transportation for these individuals. He also asked more specific questions about issues such as when migrants could start to be transported to Florida, how locations in the state were chosen and whether the department has worked with state and local officials and organizations to prepare for the influx.

Administrators in Broward and Palm Beach planned to have a strategy session Thursday. This was something that came out of the agency. No shelters have been designated and no federal funding allotted to house, feed or guard them, Bogen said. "Sometimes this stuff happens, and this is something I am ultimately going to have to talk (about) with the president".

DeSantis said local and state resources would be strained as a result of the federal government "dumping unlawful migrants into our state".

"I think that it will impact resources, the schools, the health care, law enforcement and state agencies", the governor said.

"We have a mass migration plan, but a mass migration plan is created to handle something like the Mariel boatlift where people come here exigently with circumstances, and we take them into custody and turn them over to Border Patrol", said Palm Beach Sheriff Bradshaw.

DeSantis also has been a major supporter of banning sanctuary-city policies and intends to sign the bill that passed the Legislature. DeSantis, who supported the bill, said, "We are a stronger state when we protect our residents, foster safe communities and respect the work of law enforcement at every level".

"We're going to work with them to help them remove criminal aliens".

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