TALLAHASSEE — President Donald Trump told Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday that federal authorities would not be sending immigrants from the southern border to the state, according to a spokesperson for DeSantis.
DeSantis and Trump talked late in the afternoon about the immigration proposal that sparked massive pushback from both Democrats and Republicans, including some of Trump’s biggest political allies in the Sunshine State.
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Helen Ferré said Trump told the governor there are no plans to send immigrants to the state and that he had not approved or authorized such a plan.
Local officials in Democratic-leaning Broward and Palm Beach counties on Thursday said they were told by federal officials to expect at least two planeloads a week carrying undocumented immigrants from the southern U.S. border.
The move blindsided DeSantis — who has a close relationship with Trump — and other GOP officials. DeSantis told reporters on Friday the state “cannot accommodate in Florida this dumping of unlawful migrants into our state. It impacts our resources, the schools, the healthcare, law enforcement, state agencies.” DeSantis also said the plan had not come from the White House but rather from a federal agency and that he promised to talk about it with Trump.
Late Friday, federal officials said there were no immediate plans to send undocumented immigrants from the border to South Florida. But a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not rule out the possibility of sending immigrants from the border to Florida in the future, saying in an email, “We are looking at processing capacity for U.S. Border Patrol sectors across the nation.”
Officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties first announced federal officials informed them that up to 500 undocumented immigrants a month could be sent to the counties starting next month.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Broward County officials detailed the plan by the Trump administration to potentially send hundreds of migrants from the southern U.S. border to Florida. Trump on Thursday delivered a Rose Garden address about his latest immigration plans, renewing his call to build a wall along the border with Mexico and saying he wants to prioritize highly skilled and well-educated immigrants.
On Friday, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, a former Republican member of the Florida Legislature, also said an official from U.S. Customs and Border Protection reached out to him because undocumented immigrants sent to those counties could end up in neighboring Martin County in significant numbers.
Snyder said he was told the undocumented immigrants would be coming to the region through the Palm Beach County International Airport and may end up in the city of Indiantown, because many have family ties to that area.
Rubio sent a letter Thursday to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan asking several questions about the proposal to send up to 1,000 migrants a month to Florida.
Among his questions were how the department intends to transport the migrants, why the decision was made, how many cities and counties in Florida will be affected and how those locations were chosen.