Governor Ron DeSantis, speaking at Jacksonville International Airport Friday morning, outlined his intentions to enact hardline regulation over illegal immigration through a series of proposals to be introduced in the upcoming January legislative session.
The first, and most imperative of the proposals, includes a crackdown on federal contractors that knowingly transported illegal migrants. If enacted, these contractors would be ineligible to receive state contracts moving forward, per DeSantis.
DeSantis has spoken at length over recent weeks regarding over 70 documented flights that have landed at Jacksonville International Airport since October, all containing undocumented individuals from Central America and Mexico.
“So these are flights that are coming in, 2 or 3 in the morning. The feds, of course, control the airspace. And they’re there on the ground,” said DeSantis in a Nov. 8th appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show. “They take these folks, and they send them to other parts of Florida by bus. Or to other parts of the Southeast.”
The governor’s proposed budget would allocate roughly $8 million of federal funds to install a program that allows the state to contract with private companies to transport illegal migrants outside of Florida. DeSantis has repeatedly said in jest that Florida will transport illegal immigrants to Delaware – the home state of Joe Biden.
One proposal discussed during the press conference aims to strengthen Florida’s sanctuary cities ban that DeSantis signed into law in 2019. The measure forbids law enforcement agencies and local governments from enacting sanctuary policies that prevent cooperation with federal immigration and homeland security officials.
“We’re also going to strengthen our Sanctuary Cities law,” said DeSantis. “We need all entities in Florida helping to fight back against the federal government’s ineptitude and inaction.”
The uptick in statewide immigration policy rhetoric comes amid a murder carried out by a Honduran national that was brought to Florida through one of the midnight flights in October. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry joined DeSantis, where he lauded his efforts and promised to “do whatever it takes to make sure these proposals get passed.”
“While some may think this is a unique or extreme case, I’m not willing to take that chance,” said Curry. “Like the governor, I want more information about who is on these flights coming into our city, many of them landing in the middle of the night. I want to know how these individuals are being vetted and how they’re being screened. This isn’t about vilification, it’s about verification.”