Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday visited the southern border and warned that the surge in migrants and deadly drugs like fentanyl is having, or will have, a knock-on effect in other states.
‘Just the scale of this in terms of the stress of public resources, school, medical other things, this is going to greatly impact communities throughout Florida and I think across the country,” DeSantis said at a press conference.
“This is a situation where all states need to be a part of the process of stepping up,” Abbott said.
The pair spoke in the Del Rio Sector as the Florida governor visited the Lone Star state to see the border crisis in person. He met with Abbott and was briefed by law enforcement officials on the crisis, and also paid visits to the border wall and areas affected by the crisis.
There were more than 188,000 migrant encounters in June alone, bringing the total number of migrant encounters in fiscal year 2021 to more than a million. Additionally drugs like fentanyl have been seized in greater quantities, with a 12% increase in June and 78% more seizures in FY 2021 than all of FY2020.
DeSantis noted that his state is having a problem with methamphetamine, and said that 95% of it came from the border.
“What happens at the border happens here today, but it will be happening in these other states tomorrow or next week or next month,” Abbott said.
DeSantis said that he was shocked to hear from officials in Del Rio that the majority of the migrants being processed into the U.S. had Florida as their final destination.
“70 percent of the people they have interdicted said their ultimate destination is the state of Florida, so this is something, whenever there’s a wave across the border, I’m not saying it’s 70 percent in every part of the border but here it’s the majority,” he said.
Both Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey had issued a call for help from other states, asking them to send manpower and law enforcement to help at the border. Florida was one of those states that responded, along with states like South Dakota and Iowa.
Texas has launched a number of efforts to stem the crisis, including putting down a $250 million down payment on a new wall construction project after the Biden administration abruptly ended the project in January.
Additionally, it has cleared out jails to hold more illegal immigrants and made efforts to arrest those coming in illegally. Abbott said Operation Lone Star had resulted in the apprehension of 50,000 illegal aliens, 2,000 criminal illegal immigrants, and disrupted 40 stash houses.
DeSantis said Floridian personnel have helped apprehend more than 2,800 illegal immigrants, with 100 arrests for felonies including human trafficking, drug smuggling and vehicle theft.
The two governors, both Republicans, blame the Biden administration for the crisis — pointing to the rollback of Trump-era policies like the border wall and the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), arguing that if those policies were brought back, the crisis would end.
“We appreciate you stepping up where the federal government won’t,” DeSantis told his Texan counterpart. “We understand how important this is to not just Texas but other states and we are absolutely going to see impacts in Florida and other states if we don’t turn the tide on this.”