GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office issued a fiery critique of President Joe Biden’s administration’s efforts block the governor from implementing a rule which would restrict the White House’s ability to insert illegal immigrants into the state of Florida.
DeSantis’s general counsel Ryan Newman wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) officials in Biden’s administration:
“It is critical that lines of responsibility and accountability are clearly drawn. 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’s three-page letter, sent to the deputy General Counsel of HHS, Mark Greenberg, in the Biden administration, includes a warning to the Biden administration that state-licensed Department of Children and Families (DCF) facilities will lose their licenses if they accept Biden’s migrant children being transported to the state.
The letter adds that the state of Florida will only reconsider this stance if Biden reinstates former President Donald Trump’s highly effective Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and Remain-in-Mexico agreements—or something very similar.
Newman wrote, “Under the emergency order, 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. Faithful enforcement of federal immigration law to secure the border, deter illegal immigration, and prevent the surge of illegal aliens at the border, including UAC, is a baseline prerequisite to any future cooperative agreement involving the resettlement of UAC in Florida.”
The letter written on behalf of DeSantis comes in response to an HHS inquiry sent to the governor after his administration issued a rule change barring the issuance of or renewal of licenses to state-licensed facilities that house unaccompanied migrant minors brought into the United States by the Biden administration and placed in those Department of Children and Families (DCF) facilities in Florida.
Newman wrote to Greenberg after revealing that DeSantis had authorized him to respond to the federal government on his behalf on this matter:
“We understand that Congress has made a policy choice to require the Federal Government to assume custody and care of UAC who arrive at the southern border. We also understand that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been assigned ultimate responsibility for this difficult task and that the Biden administration’s weak immigration enforcement policies have made the task even more difficult. Nevertheless, the states, including the State of Florida, have no obligation to aid or assist the Federal Government’s policy choices. The Federal Government has chosen to be the caretaker of UAC arriving at the border; it must take full responsibility for that choice.”
DeSantis’s general counsel continues in his letter to the Biden administration by explaining the statistics behind the Biden-driven explosion of migrant children arriving at the border—a mass expansion beyond what happened during now former President Donald Trump’s administration.
According to Newman’s letter, since Biden took office, his administration has “exacerbated the UAC problem by pursuing open borders policies and lax immigration enforcement” that has resulted in more than 146,000 unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the border during Biden’s first year in office as compared with just 33,000 in the 2020 fiscal year or 80,000 in the 2019 fiscal year.
Newman’s letter continues, “The burdens of this administration’s policies are not shared equally among the states. Only 22 states currently have ORR-contracted facilities that house UAC. We estimate that at least 4,284 UAC have been housed in these facilities in Florida over the last year. In addition, ORR placed 11,145 UAC with sponsors in Florida last fiscal year. That number, second highest in the country, exceeds 10,773 UAC placed in California, which has almost twice the population of Florida.”
The letter continues, arguing that the Biden policies are “dangerous” for the migrant children who, because of them, are victims of human trafficking and that the “Federal Government then, in effect, completes the human trafficking scheme” by resettling them in various places across the country.
For all of those reasons and more, Newman writes, the state of Florida’s DCF “can no longer participate in or otherwise facilitate this highly flawed federal program until significant changes are made in federal immigration enforcement.”
Author: Gregory Lewis