While political opponents are willing to write off Governor Ron DeSantis’ commitment to deploying Florida law enforcement to Texas and Arizona as just a “political stunt,” those in law enforcement committing resources and manpower to that deployment are taking it quite seriously. The Governor’s office says such a characterization is “offensive.”
In direct response to a letter late last week from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, requesting immediate assistance to quell the surge of illegal migrants, apprehend illegal criminal aliens, and secure the border, DeSantis announced yesterday several of Florida’s law enforcement agencies will send personnel to Texas and Arizona to aid local authorities in addressing the immigration crisis.
Gubernatorial candidates U.S. Representative Charlie Crist and Agriculture Commission Nikki Fried were dismissive of the governor’s announcement.
Crist said it was just a “political stunt” that will “make our streets less safe.”
Fried wrote on Twitter, “Florida’s current governor just makes controversies up to get on Fox News.”
Florida Representative Anna Eskamani tweeted, “Another political stunt by @GovRonDeSantis
— instead of perpetuating the attacks on immigrants & going after Biden Administration why don’t you focus on the people who live in FL!”
“The Governor’s decision to send Florida law enforcement to the border in response to the request from the governors of Texas and Arizona is in no way a ‘political stunt.’ Frankly, that accusation is offensive and unfair to the brave men and women of law enforcement who answered the call to help our fellow Americans secure our country’s border. Governor DeSantis is grateful for their service,” the Governor’s Press Secretary Christina Pushaw responded in a statement to The Capitolist.
She continued, “Helping out other states in their moment of need is the right thing to do; the governors of other states have sent resources to Florida in response to natural disasters, for example. Moreover, securing the border helps Floridians. Even though Florida isn’t a border state, securing the southern border would help stop the flow of illegal drugs that end up in our state and ravage our communities. Illegal immigrants have also committed crimes in Florida, which could have been prevented if our immigration laws were enforced. These are very real issues that affect Floridians’ everyday lives, and it’s wrong to dismiss the Governor’s attempt to address these issues as a mere ‘political stunt.’ With the federal government unable or unwilling to enforce our laws and secure our border, Florida is ready to step up to the plate and do our part. ”
Walton County’s Sheriff Michael Adkinson Jr. said answering the Governor’s call to assist Texas and Arizona with the border crisis is “fundamentally the right thing to do regardless of what your politics are. This situation has got to be addressed down at the border.”
He said, he and other Florida law enforcement officers assisted in Louisiana in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina and this situation is not very different.
“Clearly there is a crisis at the border,” Adkinson said. “As a law enforcement officer, upon the Governor’s request, I think it’s fundamentally the right thing to do to assist. I really do think it’s a moral obligation. I think we have this responsibility. From a law enforcement standpoint, I think it’s important to remember, I don’t get to pick and choose which laws or which administrations, I will or will not support. I’m going to do what I promised the people of Walton County I would do and that’s enforce our laws with a fair and compassionate approach to doing our duties.”
He said the border crisis does affect the people of Walton County directly, that there is a risk to local citizens.
The sheriff of Pasco County agrees.
Sheriff Chris Nocco of Pasco County said, “The flow of fentanyl that makes its way into our country and into our communities negatively impacts every citizen as we continue to deal with the ongoing issue of substance abuse and overdoses in our community. Pasco County is no different, with record numbers of overdoses over the last year. We will do whatever necessary to keep fentanyl and other illegal narcotics out of our community. In addition, as we fight to end the scourge of human trafficking, we must ensure that those who enter our country are not trafficked and used as tools to carry these illegal narcotics across our border.”
He said he was honored to stand with Governor DeSantis yesterday as he announced Florida’s support of Texas at the southern border.
Florida’s head law enforcement officer, Attorney General Ashley Moody takes the announcement seriously too.
“As Attorney General, I am dedicated to ending human trafficking, protecting our children from sexual predators, and fighting the opioid crisis now claiming 21 lives a day in our state, but President Biden is hurting, not helping us achieve these vital public safety goals,” she said. “The crisis the President created at our southern border makes all of us less safe, and I am proud to stand with Governor DeSantis as he tries to fix the President’s disaster at the border to protect Floridians.”