(The Center Square) – In a campaign stop in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis presented his border security plan as part of his platform to win the Republican nomination for president.
The plan includes reinstating several policies implemented by the Trump administration, including ending catch and release, reinstating the Remain in Mexico policy, among others. His plan also includes using the U.S. military to work with Border Patrol agents “on day one, and they’ll continue to help until the [border] wall is finished,” according to a campaign document obtained by The Center Square.
DeSantis plans to continue building the border wall that Trump built. There are currently 600 open miles along the US-Mexico border. The Trump administration built the most fortified wall of any administration using up to 30-foot steel bollards anchored in concrete. The wall was built to replace previously constructed fences along the border or where no wall or barrier existed.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden halted border wall construction, saying it was a waste of taxpayer money. He also reversed Trump-era policies resulting in the greatest number of illegal entries in U.S. history.
Since January 2021, over 8 million people have been apprehended or reported evading capture by Border Patrol, more than the individual populations of 38 states.
DeSantis’ plan would also change the current policy of releasing people into the U.S. who claim asylum, prohibiting entry unless their claim is approved. The Florida governor during Tuesday’s address said he would deputize state law enforcement to help enforce immigration laws when the federal government abdicates its responsibility.
“I’ve listened to people for years and years – Republicans and Democrats in Congress – and never getting the job done,” DeSantis said. “We’re saying no excuses. Get the job done. Day one priority [if he’s elected president], you’re going to see a big change.”
DeSantis’ plan also includes designating Mexican drug cartels as Transnational Criminal Organizations, something Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas legislature have already done but Biden has not. His plan would authorize greater financial sanctions on cartels and those doing business with them and strengthen penalties for those trafficking fentanyl. He also said he would use force to repel the cartels from cutting into the steel wall.
Since the Mexican government so far hasn’t stopped cartels from manufacturing fentanyl and other illicit drugs and transporting them north to the U.S. border, DeSantis’ plan also includes surging resources to the U.S. Navy and the Coast Guard to block ships coming from China that are transporting precursor chemicals from entering Mexican ports.
DeSantis’ also said he would create a Joint Counter-Cartel Task Force to direct and prioritize anti-cartel intelligence gathering among law enforcement and intelligence agencies nationwide. The plan includes increasing Border Patrol salaries and expanding recruitment efforts.
He said he’d issue an executive order to challenge the belief “that the children of illegal aliens are entitled to birthright citizenship if they are born in the United States.” DeSantis and his supporters argue the courts haven’t settled the issue and the authors of the 14th Amendment didn’t have “anchor babies” in mind when they wrote the policy.
The governor’s announcement came as Florida has been successfully suing the Biden administration over immigration policy and after he and the Florida legislature enacted the strongest immigration policies in Florida history.