DeSantis answers plea for help from Abbott, Ducey. "Florida has your back."

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is sending law enforcement from the state to Texas and Arizona in response to Governor Abbott and Ducey’s plea for help. Abbott and Ducey sent a letter to the governors of every state asking for law enforcement help and other resources to help with border security. DeSantis held a news conference to announce that Florida law enforcement will be sent to help patrol the southern border.

The governors, all Republicans, point out that the Biden border crisis is a self-inflicted problem. DeSantis noted that Florida is the first state to answer the call for mutual aid for Texas and Arizona. He rightly points out that the problems created by the crisis on the southern border affect other states as well. Sheriffs from seven Florida counties attended the press conference to show their support of DeSantis’ response.

“We’re here today because we have problems in Florida that are not organic to Florida that we’ve been forced to deal (with) over many years, but particularly over the last six months, because of the failure of the Biden administration to secure our southern border,” DeSantis said. “And, indeed, to really do anything constructive about what is going on in the southern border.”

Sheriffs from Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Lee, Bay and Brevard counties attended the press conference and stood behind the governor as he spoke. A sign bearing the phrase “Secure Our Border, Secure Our States” was taped to the front of the podium by a staffer just prior to the governor making his remarks.

DeSantis offered little in the way of specific details about the mutual aid, although he said that officers likely would be deployed to the border for a period of 16 days. Sheriffs from the seven counties have volunteered to send deputies and officers to the border, and DeSantis said he hopes more Florida counties will step up as well.

The Florida governor will send officers from several agencies – Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. DeSantis didn’t provide information about the mutual assistance but said more information will be forthcoming. He said that many sheriff’s departments have deputies who are eager to help out on the southern border. They want an opportunity to do so. DeSantis zeroed in on the drug problems created by the border crisis. The Florida Division of Emergency Management will oversee the deployments.

“I can tell you, if you talk to some of these North Florida sheriffs, in Northwest Florida who are dealing with the meth problem that we’re seeing, it’s really ravaging communities particularly in the northern part of our state,” DeSantis said. “If you go back 10, 20 years ago, you’d find where they’d be cooking this stuff up locally. It’s almost all coming across the southern border now, and it’s accelerated in the last six months.”

Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons said he stepped up to the governor’s call to help at the border because drugs that flow over the southern border lead directly to crimes that happen within Escambia County.

“We talked a little bit about methamphetamine and how it’s (coming) from the border. We talked a little bit about fentanyl. It’s easy to say that, but let me tell you about how that hits home here in a place like Escambia County. (There’s) not a shooting, not a violent crime that goes by that we investigate that’s not involving methamphetamine,” Simmons said at the press conference.

“Not a day goes by at all, we don’t go to a call where someone overdoses on fentanyl,” he continued. “We can talk about the sheer numbers and the pounds and the kilos coming from the border through the interstate into our own Escambia County. But what does that mean? It means people are dying in our city streets, our county streets and it makes a difference. … We acknowledge this is an issue, this is a problem, we have got to come together and do something with it.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody mocked Kamala Harris for being so feckless as she went to Guatemala instead of going to the U.S. southern border. Moody said that begging people not to come isn’t showing leadership, that De Santis is stepping up and answering a call for help, unlike the Biden administration.

“When you have chaos versus order, crime versus safety, you develop strategic enforcement actions, and you bring peace and protection to your people. That’s what a leader does,” said Moody. “In these short few months that this administration has been in charge, we have seen a 230% increase in fentanyl seizures, enough to kill almost half of the American population. We have seen over a 3,000% increase in sexual offenders being detained at the border. As a mother, as a former prosecutor and judge, that infuriates me and terrifies me.”

DeSantis is smart to jump on this. Frankly, all Republican governors should do doing the same. DeSantis is likely going to run for president in 2024 and continues to build his national profile with this sort of leadership. Illegal immigration is a top issue in GOP presidential primary races. Donald Trump ran on securing the southern border and putting the brakes on illegal immigration. In border state races like in Texas, illegal immigration is always a top topic of debate. With the mid-term elections coming up, Republicans would be fools not to make the border crisis a top issue. Joe Biden may have decent poll numbers right now but his numbers on how he is handling illegal immigration are falling. Americans are not stupid, they know that the issue doesn’t just affect those of us in border states. The problem moves north, inside the interior of the country.

The humanitarian crisis brought about by the Biden border crisis is undeniable. Drug cartels and human traffickers are running the show and making millions of dollars doing so. Drugs like fentanyl are pouring into the country and exacerbating the opioid crisis. State governors are left to deal with drug cartels on the border when the federal government fails to do its job, which is happening now with the Biden administration.

Governors Abbott and Ducey are right to keep the focus on the Biden border crisis. There is much that Joe Biden can do, such as a return to the policies that were used during the Trump administration. Biden’s cave to the open borders crowd had immediate consequences in terms of human lives and conditions along the border. The number of illegal migrants apprehended at the border remains at 20-year highs. There is no end in sight.