Gov. DeSantis visits Texas to highlight border security

Governor says mutual aid will protect Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis headshot.
Gov. Ron DeSantis headshot. (WPLG)

Gov. Ron DeSantis, along with a group of Republican lawmakers and state law-enforcement officers, were in Texas Saturday to discuss security along the Mexican border with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

According to a press release issued by the governor’s office on Saturday, DeSantis was joined in Del Rio, Texas by Attorney General Ashley Moody; Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby; Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Lt. Col. Brian Smith; Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen; and Florida Highway Patrol Col. Gene Spaulding.

Resources from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) deployed on June 25, including more than 50 staff law enforcement members with mission critical equipment. Most personnel have deployed for 16-day shifts, but at the end of the first 16 days, some personnel have opted to stay on.

“We appreciate Texas stepping up where the federal government won’t,” DeSantis said. “When Gov. Abbott put out the call for help at the border, we immediately answered because we know that the success in Texas is America’s success. Of the individuals our law enforcement have apprehended at the border, more than 70% said they ultimately wanted to go to Florida. To solve this problem, we want to see successful border policies reinstated that President Biden irresponsibly removed. Until then, states are going to have to step up, and I am proud to dedicate Florida resources to help. In addition to our law enforcement officers, Florida National Guard will continue to serve at the border to support Texas National Guard until October 2022.”

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Last month, DeSantis responded to a request from Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for help in battling illegal immigration at the border by sending more than 50 Florida law-enforcement officers to the Lone Star State.

DeSantis said the mutual-aid effort will protect Florida, in part because of drugs crossing the border and landing in areas such as North Florida. Florida has filed a federal lawsuit challenging immigration-enforcement decisions by President Joe Biden’s administration.

Moody has argued that the Biden administration has shirked its responsibilities in enforcing immigration laws and threatened public safety. Democrats described the deployment of Florida law officers to the border as a “political stunt,” however.

“Floridians are living through multiple crises including historic protests for Cuban freedom, the worst red tide in years, recovery efforts from the tragic Surfside collapse, and once-again skyrocketing COVID-19 cases --- but this governor chooses to skip town and play Border Patrol,” Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat running for governor, said in a prepared statement released Friday.