TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis attacked the Biden administration’s immigration policies during an appearance in Titusville on Thursday.
DeSantis, who was speaking at the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum, announced a series of measures aimed at helping guard against undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes being able to commit more crimes after they’ve been released from prison.
“These are convicted felons who are here illegally. If you can’t remove them, then what do you have? Just a complete lawless system and a completely open border? I don’t think any of us want that,” DeSantis said.
According to DeSantis, the Biden administration is “halting the removal of criminal aliens” from the U.S. after they have completed their prison sentences.
“We’ve already had in Florida a handful of criminal aliens that had finished their sentences, and the detainers were removed by the Biden administration,” DeSantis said. “Normally they would’ve been transferred, federal custody, and removed. Well, now the federal government is effectively releasing them into our communities.”
Over the next 30 days, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) estimates that 50 confirmed or suspected undocumented immigrants will complete their state prison terms. Over the next six months, FDC estimates that the number will rise to approximately 200 individuals.
“Florida will not sit by and watch idly as the federal government sets criminal aliens free and abdicates its legal obligation to enforce immigration law,” the governor said. “That’s why I’m calling on President Biden and ICE to take immediate action to detain and remove these dangerous criminal aliens. Too many lives have been lost because immigration officials failed to do their jobs and too many parents have lost children at the hands of criminal aliens who were irresponsibly set free.”
DeSantis has since sent a letter to FDC Secretary Mark Inch directing him to:
- Identify all Florida inmates with detainer agreements and pursue all legal means available to transfer them to ICE custody upon completion of their Florida prison terms.
- Provide monthly updates to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Office of the Governor on all inmates who have detainers lifted by ICE during the 90 days prior to the release date.
- Provide monthly updates to FDLE and the Office of the Governor on all undocumented inmates released at the direction of ICE.
- Notify local law enforcement whenever undocumented individuals may be released in their communities.
- Work with FDLE to cross-check, on a weekly basis, any released “criminal aliens” against Florida law enforcement’s statewide reports of new crimes.
- Work with Florida sheriffs to facilitate the use of the national Law Enforcement Notification System (LENS), which provides local law enforcement with information on “criminal aliens” released from ICE custody in Florida.
- Submit formal requests to ICE under 8 U.S.C. 1373(c) to confirm the citizenship status of all inmates where citizenship status is inconclusive.