Ron DeSantis Previews Federal Policy to Secure Border: Designate Cartels, Rethink Border’s Rules of Engagement

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday previewed his plan to secure the U.S. southern border, offering more details on how to address the Biden administration’s ongoing crisis.

Speaking from Eagle Pass, Texas, following a border tour that took place over the weekend, DeSantis previewed some of the actions he would take as president to address the immigration crisis.

The presidential hopeful made it clear that this is not a border state issue but an “American problem” that impacts communities all across the nation. He used Florida as an example, citing the increase in fentanyl overdose deaths.

DeSantis noted that Florida assisted in the border crisis in Texas in 2021, and he detailed what he saw when he visited the border at the time.

I didn’t see a single Mexican coming in, but there were people from halfway around the world coming through on this southern border because they know all you got to do is show up on the border and you’re gonna get a ticket to come into the interior of the United States,” DeSantis said, adding, “I think they’ve identified about 10,000 Chinese nationals coming across the southern border.”

“Our own government acknowledges that you’ve had a significant number of people on its own terrorist watch list that have come across the border, and we know there have been a lot of criminal aliens that have come across the border. So this is a huge problem,” he said, also noting the human catastrophe current border policy has created, incentivizing bad players to use children to get across the border.

DeSantis also previewed some of the actions Florida has taken under his leadership, from banning sanctuary cities to implementing employment verification and increasing penalties. The governor also noted the issue Florida ran into with individuals attempting to come into the U.S. via boat. The Coast Guard did not have enough resources to address the issue, so he declared a state of emergency, and the state used emergency assets to assist. Once that started, DeSantis said, the number of boats trying to come over decreased. That same principle would apply to the southern border as well, he said.

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Greg Abbott via Storyful

Throughout his address, DeSantis previewed some of the actions he would take as president to address the illegal immigration crisis. For instance, he said his administration would not support illegitimate asylum cases, and he added that states should be permitted to send illegal immigrants back themselves.

“I can tell you as president, we’re gonna fully deputize all state and local governments to be able to enforce immigration law, you will be able to have that authority,” he said.

Further, DeSantis said his administration would not allow sanctuary jurisdictions to get away with their policies, and he also called to take another look at the rules of engagement on the southern border, authorizing an appropriate use of force to stop drug smugglers.

“And I’m just thinking to myself, you spend all this money on that, and you just let them cut through with impunity and do it,” he said of cartel members literally cutting through the southern border.

“And so you know, I think you need adequate rules of engagement. … If someone was breaking into your house, you would repel them with the use of force, right?” DeSantis asked, noting that if they moved to repel them in that way with force “one time, they will never do it again.”

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Finally, DeSantis also said his administration would give cartels a designation to have more federal power so they cannot get away with their actions with impunity.

“We will designate them either transnational criminal organization, foreign terrorists …  bottom line is we’re going to give them a designation so that we can unleash more federal power to be able to kneecap the cartels, and so that’s going to happen,” he promised.

“I think about you have so many people that are dying in the United States, and yet our ruling class in D.C., they’re just shrugging their shoulders at this,” he said, noting that there is “no sense of urgency to try to stop this.”

“It’s kind of the cost of doing business, I guess. And I just find that to be unacceptable. I find it to be totally deplorable,” DeSantis continued, promising to “marshal every bit of authority that we have” on day one in office.

“[We] will work with Congress when we need to. We’ll take executive action when we can, and it will be a day one priority. And you’re gonna see a big change very, very quickly, and so I’m looking forward to doing it,” he added.

A summary from DeSantis’s team provided more details on his plan to secure the southern border and protect Americans. In addition to what he discussed in Eagle Pass, DeSantis would also end catch and release, reimpose the Remain in Mexico policy, deport visa overstays, use the military to help build the wall, and “use every dollar available to him as president and every dollar he can squeeze out of Congress” to finish building the wall, according to his campaign.

Indeed, DeSantis is no stranger to enacting policies to fight President Biden’s border crisis, as he has signed legislation in the Sunshine State designed to do just that. In May, for instance, DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1718, essentially making Florida the largest state in the country to do full E-Verify for employment.

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CBS News

“It’s already against the law for someone to be employed if they’re here illegally, but the E-Verify provides a way to make sure that that’s enforceable. So we think that that’s something that’s going to make a big, big difference,” DeSantis said at the time.

Additionally, that particular bill “enhances human smuggling penalties” and “prohibits county governments and NGOs from using tax dollars to provide IDs for illegal aliens.”

DeSantis also recently sent resources to the Lone Star State to help address the immigration influx.

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