Florida Governor DeSantis Refuses to House Migrant Children Until Biden Admin Amends Border Policies

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Monday that he doesn’t want the problems related to illegal immigration at the border to be imported into the state of Florida. File photo: Hunter Crenian, Shutter Stock, licensed.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has officially refused to assist in housing minor illegal immigrant children in state-licensed facilities until the administration of President Joe Biden amends their immigration and border security policies amid a continued record-breaking surge of migrants crossing over into the United States.

Ryan Newman, DeSantis’ general counsel, sent a strongly-worded 26-page letter to Mark Greenberg, Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), stating that “Unaccompanied Alien Children” (UAC) will not be welcome by Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) until the Biden Admin cleans up their act at the border.

“It is critical that lines of responsibility and accountability are clearly drawn,” the letter read. “So long as the Biden administration continues its irresponsible immigration policies, Florida no longer wishes to be involved in the Federal Government’s UAC resettlement program. DCF’s change of policy makes clear that the Federal Government, not the State of Florida, is solely responsible for the care and safety of the UAC that it has chosen to bring into the country.”

Newman noted to Greenberg that the state of Florida will only consider reversing this decision if the Biden Administration reinstates the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) originally instituted by former President Donald Trump, a series of policies which were credited with helping greatly to control the situation at the border.

Until the time comes where the MPP are reinstated, Newman said, any DCF facility that accepts migrant children transported to Florida by the Biden Administration will lose their license.

“DCF has no obligation to enter into any cooperative agreement with the Federal Government and it does not intend to do so unless the Federal Government restores the immigration enforcement policies of the prior administration or implements similar such policies,” the letter read.

However, Newman also outlined several other conditions to which the federal government would have to adhere to if they wish to have Florida’s cooperation back in regards to the UAC resettlement program.

“In any event, any such future cooperative agreement would need to include, at a minimum, advance notice when UAC are transported into Florida, verification that the UAC are under the age of 18 and do not have a criminal history or affiliation with criminal gangs, and an opportunity for the state to object if the number of UAC transported to Florida becomes excessive as compared to other states,” according to the letter.

In December, Governor DeSantos had signed an emergency order to bar DCF facilities in Florida from accepting any unaccompanied migrant minors brought into the country. These facilities are mainly meant to house homeless Floridian children; however, the Biden Administration had been sending migrant minors intercepted crossing the U.S. border to these facilities, as well as ones in numerous other states as well.

Newman noted that in Biden’s first year in the White House, over 146,000 unaccompanied migrant children were encountered at the border, as opposed to 33,000 in 2020 and 80,000 in 2019; the burden of caring for this massive influx of venerable children, Newman said, has been thrust upon the states by the federal government, leading to a “dangerous” situation for both state residents and the migrant children themselves.

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