Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that thousands of undocumented immigrants will not be sent to the Sunshine State.
“President @realDonaldTrump and I spoke yesterday and confirmed that he did not approve, nor would approve, sending immigrants who illegally cross the border to Florida. It is not going to happen,” DeSantis tweeted.
Trump followed up with his own tweet later in the day, claiming there was “false reporting” and that “there are no plans to send migrants to Northern or Coastal Border facilities, including Florida.”
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan acknowledged during an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that the Trump administration had considered sending illegal immigrants to Florida.
“On Thursday, local officials are told by your agency that this is happening. This morning you tell me it’s not,” Face the Nation Moderator Margaret Brennan pressed McAleenan.
“It’s not because we looked at it from a planning perspective. What’s prudent here? We do have stations in Florida. We have stations on the northern border. They’re very small stations. They have a few agents that are busy patrolling their areas. There wasn’t going to be an effective use of resources,” McAleenan explained. “But, yeah, we had to look at all options. When you have 16,000 people in custody and facilities designed for many fewer, you’ve got to look at any planning factor you can.”
McAleenan told Brennan the “false reporting” that the president referenced was in regards to media outlets claiming “that flights had already occurred.”
McAleenan went on to add that the plan to reverse course and not send undocumented immigrants to Florida was made on Saturday by Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders.
Sanders released a statement on Saturday, which read, in part, “CBP began transporting hundreds of families by bus and aircraft from the U.S. Border Patrol’s severely overcrowded processing facilities to less-crowded stations along the Southwest border” but “CBP has no plans to transport people in our custody to northern or coastal border facilities, which include Border Patrol stations in Florida.”
The concerns that thousands of undocumented immigrants could flood Florida started to materialize back in April when Trump announced the plan.
“We are sending many of them through sanctuary cities,” Trump said during a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “They’re not too happy about it. I’m proud to tell you that was actually my sick idea.”
Even though the Florida legislature recently banned sanctuary cities across the state, Broward County was apparently one of the targets to receive asylum seekers.
On Thursday, before the reversal was announced, Broward Mayor Mark Bogen called the president’s plan an “irresponsible policy.”
“If the President will not provide us with financial assistance to house and feed these people, he will be creating a homeless encampment,” read Bogen’s statement. “To bring hundreds of people here every week without providing the necessary resources to house and feed them is inhumane.”
Bogen added that his county was not a sanctuary city but nonetheless the president “threatened to send people who illegally cross the border to communities that are considered immigrant friendly.”
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