Gov. DeSantis rolls out new initiatives aimed at cracking down on undocumented migrants

Florida governor criticizes President Joe Biden’s policies on the border at news briefing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Jacksonville on Thursday morning to speak about what he calls an ongoing crisis when it comes to migrants coming into the United States illegally, according to News 6 partner News4Jax.

“This country is unable to control its own borders,” DeSantis said.

Standing behind a sign that read “Biden’s Border Crisis,” DeSantis criticized President Joe Biden’s policies on the border and said they are leading to an influx of drugs and other issues.

DeSantis touted a number of legislative priorities that he said will be aimed at cracking down on undocumented immigrants in Florida.

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“Wouldn’t it be better to say that the migrants coming into Florida are American citizens or at least people that are here lawfully? And that’s what we want to get to,” DeSantis said.

He said the Florida legislature will hear a bill that would increase penalties for those accused of human smuggling in the state, increasing the penalty to a third-degree felony with a separate offense for each person. It could lead to 5 years in prison if convicted and it can be a heavier punishment if the person smuggled is under 18 years old.

DeSantis also said he wants to “remove the enticement of employment” for migrants who want to come to Florida by requiring employers to use “E-Verify,” a web-based system that allows employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

Right now, Florida law now requires all public employers and their private contractors to use E-Verify, a system run by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But private employers are not required to use the system.

Early in his first term, DeSantis tried to push the legislature to mandate universal E-Verify, but it got strong pushback from hospitality and agriculture businesses.

DeSantis said he also wants hospitals to turn over data that reveals how much it costs to provide healthcare to undocumented immigrants.

“In the face of a failed federal administration, neglect at the border, honestly intentional of what is going on at the border because it fits a vision, we are fighting back on behalf of Floridians, and I think that if other states mimic the proposals that I’ve been put forth today, and the proposed legislation, it is going to make a big, big difference,” DeSantis said.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration released a new rule that largely bars migrants who traveled through other countries on their way to the US-Mexico border from applying for asylum in the United States, marking a departure from decadeslong protocol.

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