Florida State Police dispatched by Governor Ron DeSantis to help patrol the Texas-Mexico border have been involved in the arrests of more than 2,800 undocumented immigrants, including more than 100 criminal arrests, said Saturday the governor.
These offenses included human trafficking, drug trafficking and vehicle theft, DeSantis said at a press briefing also attended by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
“They had a big impact,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis sent 50 state agents to Texas on June 24 in response to Abbott’s request for help.
The two GOP governors criticized President Joe Biden for reversing border policies endorsed by former President Donald Trump, including separating young children from their families and forcing asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while waiting for them. decisions on their case.
GOP critics deride Biden’s policy of “open borders,” but the president has retained a Trump policy of allowing the immediate deportation of undocumented migrants, though he plans to drop it soon for families. according to a Reuters Analysis.
DeSantis is seen as a likely candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024 if Trump decides not to run.
Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Nikki Fried – the state’s only elected state Democrat and 2022 Democratic primary contender – issued a written statement denouncing the trip by DeSantis.
“Floridians are going through multiple crises, including historic protests for Cuban freedom, the worst red tide in years, recovery efforts after the tragic Surfside collapse and once again rising COVID-19 cases. arrow – but this governor chooses to leave town and play Border Patrol. ”Fried said.
“We have issues that require leadership here in Florida, but the governor is more interested in what even Texans call for “political manipulation” At the border. He should let the experts deal with immigration and focus on running our state. “
Law enforcement officials from both states were in attendance, including Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody – though Abbott failed to mention her during Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s presentation, even though Moody was seated right next to him. DeSantis was forced to recognize her later. Florida Senate Speaker Wilton Simpson was also in attendance.
“In particular for me, what opened my eyes the most was the number of these people who arrive illegally and tell people that their destination is Florida. Obviously I knew we were going to get it, but I didn’t think it would be a majority, ”DeSantis said.
He did not provide any figures to substantiate his claim at the time.
Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Florida Highway Patrol soldiers have been associated with their Texas counterparts, as have Florida wildlife officers with Texas officers patrolling the Rio Grande. Florida Law Enforcement agents are also at the scene.