In his ongoing fight against the Biden administration’s open border policies, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has proposed a comprehensive legislative plan to be considered by the legislature when it convenes in January to limit illegal immigration in Florida as much as possible.
The plan includes a range of measures to prevent private and public entities from participating in the Biden administration’s transport of nationals who enter America illegally, building on directives he issued through executive orders in the last few months.
“One of the priorities that we’ve been working on for many months now and we’ll continue to work with the Legislature when they get back is dealing with the fallout from the reckless border policies of the Biden administration,” DeSantis said when announcing the plan.
The Biden administration has yet to comment on DeSantis’ plan.
DeSantis, who says he’s confident the legislature will approve the proposals, has vowed to protect Floridians from the “reckless policies” of the Biden administration after learning that those entering the U.S. illegally were being put on planes and flown all over the country, including to major cities in Florida. On one flight was a 24-year-old Honduran who entered the U.S. illegally posing as a minor. Despite allegedly providing false information about his age, he was vetted by Customs and Immigration officials and put on a plane to Jacksonville. He was then housed by a sponsor, whom he subsequently killed in cold blood. The murder sparked national outrage and became a rallying cry of DeSantis against Biden immigration policies.
The legislative proposals include prohibiting state agencies from providing discretionary benefits to illegal immigrants, building on an executive order that already requires state and local agencies to confirm an individual or family’s eligibility to receive benefits. The agencies, as well as hospitals and entities administering Medicaid plans, must report how much they are spending on the incoming groups.
Another aspect of the proposal prohibits state and local agencies from doing business with or providing benefits to any private entities “that knowingly or recklessly facilitate the resettlement of illegal aliens in the State of Florida.”
It also bars them from entering or renewing contracts with carriers that are knowingly transporting illegal immigrants into Florida, also building on directives from a September 28 executive order. The order prohibits state agencies from aiding illegal immigration into Florida, unless otherwise required by federal law. It also requires the collection of information from state officials on the scope of illegal immigration in Florida.
It goes a step further beyond the order, requiring private entities “that knowingly or recklessly facilitate illegal immigration into Florida” to compensate the state for all costs associated with illegal immigration.
Another proposal would require county jails and courts to collect immigration status information on all individuals at the time of their arrest and conviction, and report it to the FDLE, which would then publish the information on its website.
It also designates the Department of Economic Opportunity as an enforcement agency tasked with strengthening the state’s E-verify system.
DeSantis’ announcement comes after the state has already spent more than $1.6 million to fund law enforcement efforts at the southern border in Texas.
“We have a responsibility to stand up for the rule of law, we have a responsibility to the Constitution, and we have a responsibility to stand up against an administration that has decided they don’t want to have a secure border,” Gov. DeSantis said when announcing the plan. “These are a robust series of proposals and I believe we are going to get a lot of support from the legislature. The laws of our country require us to enforce the law and that is what needs to be done.”
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry applauded the proposals, saying, like DeSantis, he wants more information about who is being transported to Florida “on these flights, and how these individuals are being vetted and screened.”
“This is not about vilification,” he said. “It’s about verification.”
In addition to joining the interstate compact to fight illegal immigration launched by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in June, DeSantis also sued the Biden administration over its catch and release policy, and appointed Larry Keefe as Florida’s new Public Safety Czar.
Keefe, the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, is tasked with enforcing the governor’s immigration-related executive orders.
“The Biden administration has continued to ignore its sworn duty to secure our border, to enforce immigration laws, and to protect Florida from illegal immigration,” Keefe said. He’s hopeful the governor’s proposals will “help us shut down the human smuggling pipeline to Florida and deter criminals who put unaccompanied children in harm’s way for their own gain.”
DeSantis also directed the state Department of Children and Families to issue an emergency rule related to illegal immigration. The new rule now prohibits the issuance or renewal of any license to entities that house unaccompanied minors transported to Florida unless a cooperative agreement between the state and federal government exists.
It also requires existing licensees to conduct regular welfare checks on illegal immigrant children living in Florida.
This article was originally posted on DeSantis pitches elevating fight against ‘Biden’s Border Crisis’