TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – On Wednesday in Jacksonville, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation to crack down on illegal immigration. He called it the strongest anti- illegal immigration law in the country.
The news conference happened just hours before the end of Title 42 and potentially, just days before, DeSantis officially launches his bid for the White House.
“The Mexican drug cartels have more to say about what goes on in the southern border than our own US goverment does,” DeSantis said.
The governor slammed President Joe Biden’s handling of the border. In recent days, we’ve seen a new surge of migrants as Title 42 is set to expire.
In March of 2020, the law went into effect. To prevent the spread of COVID, Title 42 allowed border agents to quickly remove migrants. It’s been used more than 2.8 million times.
Border cities like it. Some Democrats don’t.
Regardless, tomorrow, at midnight, Title 42 ends and the country is bracing for a surge with questions about what will happen next.
“People say Florida you’re not on the border, why do you care?” DeSantis said. “We had an illegal alien drive a front loader at a construction site that killed a sheriff’s deputy.”
The new Florida law increases penalties for human smuggling. It requires large employers to verify a worker’s status, and it suspends the license of those who knowingly hire the undocumented.
“We want businesses to hire citizens and legal immigrants but we want them to follow the law and not do illegal immigrants,” DeSantis said.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas addressed the expected migrant surge on Wednesday.
“The lifting of the Title 42 public health order does not mean our border is open,” he said.
On Wednesday night, the Biden administration launched an ad campaign in Central and South America. Mayorkas says, now, Title 8 will be used to remove people here illegally.
The consequences are more severe. Unlike Title 42, if you’re deported under Title 8, you cannot return to the U.S. for five years.
“U.S. Customs and Border protection screens and vets individuals whom we encounter,” said Mayorkas. “The vast majority of individuals will be returned.”
“Our plan will deliver results but it will take time for those results to be fully realized,” he added.
Mayorkas says the administration has been preparing for this moment for nearly two years.
He put a lot of the blame on Congress, saying they’ve declined his request for more resources.