A bill to expand the program that transports illegal immigrants from Florida to Democrat-controlled sanctuary jurisdictions passed the state’s legislature on Friday, enabling Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration to relocate migrants from all across the country, as opposed to just from his state.
As reported by NBC News, the bill “formally creates” the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program, which is built out from DeSantis’ 2022 policy that allowed for the state to transport migrants to sanctuary cities such as New York City and Washington, DC.
During Thursday’s debate on the state House floor, Republican Rep. John Snyder said the program was for “humanitarian” purposes, as it offers “free, chartered flights” for migrants who want to go find sanctuary. Since the bill passed both of the Republican-controlled chambers, it will head to DeSantis for final approval.
According to DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern, the governor will review the program “in its final form and decide on the merits of the bill as presented.”
The bill’s language states that the program will “facilitate the transport of inspected unauthorized aliens within the United States,” which are defined in the legislation as individuals who have “documentation from the United States Government indicating that the United States Government processed and released him or her into the United States without admitting the individual in accordance with the federal Immigration and Nationality Act.”
The program’s text blames the Biden administration, claiming that “the Federal Government has failed to secure the nation’s borders” and has “proven itself unwilling to address this crisis” which could lead to “increased crime, diminished economic opportunities and wages for American workers, and burdens on the education and health care systems.”
Included in the program would be $10 million available in transportation funds for migrants.
The Unauthorized Alien Transport Program passed just weeks after hundreds of Cuban and Haitian migrants landed in Florida, many of whom sailed from the Caribbean islands on makeshift boats. DeSantis responded by activating the state’s National Guard to deal with the influx, which was called a “political stunt,” by White House Press Secretary Karine Jeane-Pierre.
“I think that’s interesting because the Coast Guard actually requested the state’s assistance to handle all these vessels coming,” he fired back during a January 12 press conference.
In a September press conference, the governor defended his transporting of migrants to Democrat-led cities, declaring that “it’s better” for migrants “to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction.”
In another press conference from last week, DeSantis said the program creates a “deterrent effect” on migrants who want to come to Florida, and said his administration will use “whatever tools” they can to take action.
“People are sick of having an open border with no rule of law in this country. We can just sit here and do nothing about it or we can actually stand up and say, ‘Whatever tools we have at our disposal, we are going to be using,'” he said.
Story cited here.
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