The Florida legislature found “that the Federal Government has failed to secure the nation’s borders and has allowed a surge of inspected unauthorized aliens to enter the United States,” citing the consequences of illegal immigration as “increased crime, diminished economic opportunities and wages for American workers, and burdens on the education and health care systems.”
“The Legislature finds that the Federal Government has proven itself unwilling to address this crisis,” it reads, introducing the purpose of the legislation — to legally transport illegal aliens in the state of Florida to sanctuary jurisdictions.
The legislation reads in part:
To mitigate the effects of this crisis on the State of Florida, the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program is created within the Division of Emergency Management within the Executive Office of the Governor for the purpose of facilitating the transport of inspected unauthorized aliens within the United States, consistent with federal law. Notwithstanding s. 287.057, Florida Statutes, the division is authorized to contract for services to implement the program. The division may adopt rules to implement the program.This section expires June 30, 2025.
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Section 185 of chapter 2022-156, Laws of Florida, is repealed. All payments made pursuant to that section are deemed approved. Any unexpended balance of funds appropriated to the Department of Transportation under that section shall immediately revert. For the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the nonrecurring sum of $10 million from the General Revenue Fund is appropriated to the Division of Emergency Management within the Executive Office of the Governor for the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program created by this act.
In a press conference on Wednesday, DeSantis said Florida does not have the resouces to manage such a consistent inflow of illegal immigration spurred by the Biden administration’s expansive Catch and Release network.
“I’ve got enough issues dealing with people fleeing blue states to manage everybody that’s coming here,” DeSantis said. “I can’t have people from all across the border coming into Florida … it’s just too much to handle.”
The legislation authorizes the state to spend up to $10 million to send illegal aliens to sanctuary jurisdictions.
“I wish that we were not here to have to address this specific issue,” Florida state Rep. John Snyder said,” blaming President Biden’s policies. “But unfortunately, what we’ve seen out of Washington, D.C., under President Joe Biden is a complete failure to uphold the rule of law to enforce our borders.”
“Florida is using all tools available to protect our citizens from Biden’s open border policies,” DeSantis wrote in a post. “I am glad to have signed legislation to continue the program of transporting illegal aliens to sanctuary jurisdictions. I thank the legislature for maintaining this valuable tool.”
The measure comes months after DeSantis sent two flights of illegal aliens to the elite coastal island of Martha’s Vineyard. Despite its proud status as a sanctuary area, the island declared a “humanitarian crisis” and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) intervened to bus the arrivals off the island. He quickly deported the migrants away from the area, to Joint Base Cape Cod.
Days later, many of the illegal aliens filed a class action lawsuit against DeSantis claiming he violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by enticing them to board flights to Martha’s Vineyard.
Some of these folks going to sanctuary jurisdictions are in much better circumstances than just being stranded somewhere with nowhere to go. It’s not about them, because these are sanctuary jurisdictions that beat their chest just a few years ago about how nobody was illegal at all. Now that they’re getting people going there, it’s like this huge problem and they’re complaining about it.
With the flights to Martha’s Vineyard last year, DeSantis said he shed light on the issue of illegal immigration more so than any other elected official has in recent years.
“When we did the [flight] to Martha’s Vineyard, there’s not been a single thing that has happened … since Biden’s been in, that’s raised awareness about this more than that,” DeSantis said. “And they actually had to change some policy … as a result of it.”
Flying border crossers and illegal aliens to sanctuary cities is hugely popular with Cuban Floridians, where a majority of 71 percent said they supported DeSantis’s migrant flights. Similarly, 56 percent of swing voters backed the flights along with 90 percent of Republicans.