As details remain scarce about the dozens of migrants Florida’s governor redirected to the elite island of Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis didn’t waste any time Thursday pointing blame at the Biden Administration.
“We take what’s going at the southern border very seriously. Unlike the president of the United States who has refused to lift a finger to secure that border,” he said during a press conference from Niceville.
It’s a position DeSantis has maintained since he first signed an executive order against the president’s immigration policies.
Dubbed, “Biden’s Border Crisis,” Governor DeSantis signed the order in September of 2021.
In it, DeSantis directs state agencies to stop supporting federal programs that transport to the state, “aliens apprehended at the southwest border who do not have lawful status” in the U.S.
The order also limits Florida’s Department of Children and Families from relicensing the more than dozen nonprofit shelters federally funded to care for unaccompanied migrant children as part of a longstanding federal government program.
“Now it seems that the situation is only getting worse because we're not just targeting children who aren't accompanied, now the governor is essentially going after every child, whether they're unaccompanied or not,” said Florida Representative Anna Eskamani of Orlando, who is the daughter of immigrants and a strong advocate for immigrant rights.
Eskamani has opposed the governor’s policies on illegal immigration, which only intensified this past session when Florida’s Republican-led legislature passed a law that penalizes transportation companies that bring migrants into the state. DeSantis also budgeted $12 million for a new immigrant relocation program to move them out. A plan that appears to be playing out for the world to see.
“It's sad and disappointing that Republicans have seized anti-immigrant fervor to pursue their political agenda when, at the end of the day, we are a nation of immigrants and we should support those who are hungry and tired and seeking freedom and not continuously berate them and reject them and, in this case, traffic them to other parts of the country,” said Eskamani.