By Jannis Falkenstern
PUNTA GORDA, Fla.—In preparation for the potential influx of illegal aliens that would result from the Biden administration’s ending Title 42, Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed he would be ready and do everything in his power to protect Floridians.
“When Title 42 ends, you’re going to see a major flood of people going across the southern border,” he said of the policy that allows border agents to turn away migrants over COVID-19 concerns.
“They should just let the states handle the border,” the Republican governor said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that we’re protecting Floridians.”
To that end, he indicated that, with Title 42 set to expire on May 23, he would be signing new legislation in the next few weeks.
“I’m also going to sign a bill that any contractor the federal government hires to dump illegal aliens in Florida, will forfeit the ability to do business with the state or with local communities,” DeSantis said at a press conference on May 18 in Crestview.
DeSantis estimates that nearly 2.5 million people have already crossed the southern U.S. border illegally and some have been brought to Florida “in the middle of the night,” something he called “unacceptable.”
The governor pointed to record numbers of human trafficking, sex trafficking, and drug trafficking. He said the No. 1 cause of death among 18- to 45-year-old Americans is fentanyl overdose, noting that the illegally sourced drug or its chemical precursors are manufactured in China and brought across the Southern border.
“Biden should be given an honorary membership to the Mexican drug cartels,” DeSantis told an enthusiastic crowd. “Because nobody has done more to help the cartels than Biden with his open border policies.”
DeSantis said the president has violated his oath of office and endangered the American people.
“He [Biden] took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, to take care that the laws are faithfully executed,” he said. “He is violating his own oath of office by allowing massive numbers of people to come across the border illegally.”
DeSantis said Biden’s border policies have been “a disaster” and don’t bode well for a “good quality of life for Americans.” Last year, DeSantis sent Florida law enforcement officers to the border in an effort to help the state of Texas deal with the border crisis.
“The problem was they would be capturing these people coming illegally and they just walk right across,” he said describing the events last year. “Then you give them to the feds and then the feds would release them anyway. I didn’t think that was really a good use of resources—they need to be putting them back.”
DeSantis said the state of Florida is “fighting back” through litigation.
“We sued Biden on ‘catch and release’ in northwest Florida in federal court,” he said. “We’re winning that case.”
A federal judge ruled on May 4 that a lawsuit filed by state Attorney General Ashley Moody over “catch and release” of illegal immigrants can move forward, rejecting the Biden administration’s motion to dismiss it.
The lawsuit alleged that the Biden administration had violated immigration laws through policies that have led to people being released from detention after crossing the U.S. border with Mexico. Also, it alleged that the releases affect Florida because of the negative effects on education, health care, and criminal justice services, while Justice Department attorneys contended that the Biden administration has a “non-detention” policy.
However, U.S. District Judge Ken Wetherell, a former state appeals court judge, ruled that the lawsuit could move forward.