Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
Today, Governor DeSantis announced three significant actions Florida is taking to address the Biden Border Crisis. First, Governor DeSantis announced that Florida has formed a strike force of state and local law enforcement to interdict human smuggling, human trafficking, and to seize illegal weapons being transported through the state. Second, Governor DeSantis has filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a statewide grand jury to examine international human smuggling networks that bring aliens to the southern border and ultimately to Florida. Third, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1808, sweeping legislation he proposed to further protect Floridians from the Biden Border Crisis. A one pager on today’s announcement can be found here.
“Illegal aliens are being smuggled across the border in record numbers, which the reckless policies of the Biden administration facilitate,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Today, Florida has taken additional action to protect our state from the effects of what is a full-fledged border crisis.”
“As a mother, protecting children is close to my heart,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody. “We cannot turn a blind eye to traffickers and smugglers exploiting the border crisis to subject children to extremely dangerous conditions. I am grateful that Governor DeSantis has asked the Florida Supreme Court to have my Statewide Prosecutor impanel a grand jury to uncover the facts surrounding those in Florida who may be involved.”
“While Biden ignores the mess he made at the border, under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida is taking action to protect the people of our state,” said Senator Aaron Bean. “I was proud to sponsor Senate Bill 1808 to ensure that Floridians’ tax dollars do not go to the companies helping the federal government smuggle illegal aliens into our country.”
“While Joe Biden has been complicit in leaving our southern border wide open, under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida is standing up for the rule of law,” said Representative John Snyder. “By blocking midnight flights of unauthorized aliens and requiring our County Sheriffs to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, SB 1808 shows that as the Biden administration continues to turn a blind eye, Florida will do everything within our constitutional power to protect our people.”
“Keeping illegal activity out of our state and off our roadways is a battle that cannot be fought alone, and Florida is in good posture thanks to the strong support of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Legislature, and the effective collaboration between Florida’s law enforcement agencies,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Every day across Florida, the men and women of the Florida Highway Patrol put on their uniform and leave the safety and comfort of their homes to protect the citizens of our great state. They make these sacrifices because they are brave, because they are willing to serve, and because they are selfless. The citizens and visitors to our state can rest easy knowing that our law enforcement officers have their back, and the Governor has ours.”
“The effects of illegal immigration on our state present very real costs to our citizens and communities,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Acting Commissioner Mark Glass. “FDLE’s collaboration with our law enforcement partners throughout the state and ‘boots-on-the-ground’ police work proves effective at keeping all of us safer, as seen with this operation today.”
“Our strike force is dedicated to interdicting illegal activity in the state of Florida and working with the state attorneys to aggressively prosecute human smugglers and other criminals to the fullest extent of the law,” said Public Safety Czar Larry Keefe. “We appreciate the strike team’s dedication to keeping Florida safe.”
Governor DeSantis unveiled law enforcement’s efforts to combat immigration-related crimes. The strike force, made up of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol, and sheriffs, is working together to conduct operations throughout the State of Florida to interdict human smuggling and human trafficking, drug smuggling, and drug trafficking, as well as to seize illegal weapons. In the span of just three days in Northwest Florida, law enforcement interdicted five illegal aliens from Honduras and two from El Salvador who were arrested and charged with human smuggling or solicitation to commit human smuggling. The strike force also recovered almost four grams of fentanyl, which is enough to kill nearly 2,000 Floridians.
Governor DeSantis filed a petition to the Florida Supreme Court for an order to impanel a statewide grand jury to identify and investigate persons and international human smuggling networks that move illegal aliens, particularly children, across the southwest border to more desirable states such as Florida. The jury will examine these networks’ impact on the State of Florida and how they have violated state laws. In addition, the grand jury will investigate local governments that are aiding this smuggling scheme by intentionally violating state law, which requires them to cooperate with the federal government on immigration matters.
Senate Bill (SB) 1808 prohibits a governmental entity from executing, amending, or renewing a contract with a common carrier if the carrier is willfully providing any service in furtherance of transporting an unauthorized alien into the State of Florida knowing that he or she is an unauthorized alien, except to facilitate the detention, removal, or departure of the unauthorized person from Florida or the United States. This bill makes it clear that Florida resources will not be used to aid the Biden administration’s practice of secretly resettling illegal aliens into communities across Florida. SB 1808 also requires any law enforcement agency operating a county detention facility to enter into a written agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to participate in the 287(g) program. This program allows for state and local law enforcement officers to collaborate with ICE to enforce our nation’s immigration laws.
These actions today build upon previous actions taken to safeguard Floridians from the Biden Border Crisis. On September 28, 2021, Governor DeSantis announced actions to address the Biden Border Crisis, including issuing Executive Order 21-223.