After a ride-along tour of the U.S.-Mexico border Sunday night, Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis announced his plan to strengthen border security at a campaign event Monday in Eagle Pass, Texas.
Monday’s announcement marks the first major policy platform DeSantis has revealed since the start of his bid for the 2024 Republican nomination.
“I have listened to people to in D.C. for years and years, going back decades, Republican and Democrats, always chirping about this and yet never actually bringing the issue to a conclusion, never actually getting the job done,” Gov. DeSantis said Monday.
“What we’re saying is, no excuses on this. Get the job done. Make it happen. We want results. We don’t want hollow rhetoric. We don’t want empty promises,” DeSantis said.
“When we go in on day one, we’re going to marshal every bit of authority that we have. We’ll work with Congress when we need to, we’ll take executive action when we can, and it will be a day one priority,” he said, promising supporters that they would see a “big change very quickly.”
The Florida Governor’s wide-ranging immigration proposals include mass deportations, completing construction of the border wall started under President Trump, cutting federal funding for NGOs, ending catch and release and deputizing state and local law enforcement to enforce immigration law.
“Joe Biden’s dereliction of duty has made our southern border a disaster zone,” DeSantis said in a campaign release, claiming that “the Biden Administration is the critical link in an illegal transnational human smuggling syndicate.”
DeSantis also promised to crackdown on the “abuse” of the asylum seeking system by taking executive action to keep asylum seekers in Mexico while their cases are being adjudicated.
“We’ll make it very clear that while we support the idea of bona fide asylum, 90-plus-percent of these cases are not legitimate, and it’s being used to be able to shoehorn them into this country against the law,” he said at the event.
“If you arrive at a port of entry on the US-Mexico border claiming asylum, you will not enter the United States while your claim is being processed,” the campaign press release stated.
“We have to reestablish the rule of law in this country,” DeSantis said at Monday’s event. “If the federal government won’t do its job, the states should be permitted to send people back.”
The Republican presidential hopeful also vowed to “win the war against the drug cartels,” and said he would change the rules of engagement to allow the use of force to repel “criminal illegal aliens” who attempt to cut through the border wall.
“If someone was breaking into your house, you would repel them with the use of force, right? Yet if they have drugs, these backpacks, and they’re going in and cutting through [the wall], we’re supposed to just let them in?” DeSantis said Monday.
“I say, use force to repel them. If you do that one time, they will never do it again,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) also spoke at Monday’s event in Eagle Pass, and voiced his support for DeSantis and his proposed border security plan.
“I think the proof is in what you see Governor DeSantis having done as Florida Governor,” Rep. Roy said.
“We just don’t need more excuses,” he said. “Build the wall, no excuses. Enforce the law, no excuses. Knock the knees out from under cartels who are targeting Americans, endangering us with fentanyl, empowering China.”
“He is a no nonsense guy and America needs a no nonsense president to restore this country to sanity,” he added.
A DeSantis campaign advertisement released Sunday ahead of Monday’s policy rollout calls the border a “complete disaster,” saying “dangerous criminals and deadly drugs are pouring into our country.”
In May, DeSantis signed into Florida state law what his office called the “Strongest Anti-Illegal Immigration Legislation in the Country to Combat Biden’s Border Crisis.”
The bill requires Florida’s employers to use E-Verify, suspends the licenses of employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens, makes using a fake ID to gain employment a felony, increases penalties for human smuggling, bans local governments and NGOs from issuing IDs to illegal aliens and invalidates all out-of-state driver licenses issued to illegal aliens.
In his role as Governor, DeSantis has attracted controversy for sending illegal immigrants to California and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The bill provided an addition $12 million in funding to send illegal aliens to sanctuary jurisdictions.
“In Florida, we will not stand idly by while the federal government abandons its lawful duties to protect our country,” DeSantis said in April.
“The legislation I signed today gives Florida the most ambitious anti-illegal immigration laws in the country, fighting back against reckless federal government policies and ensuring the Florida taxpayers are not footing the bill for illegal immigration,” he said.
Watch DeSantis’ full border policy rollout in Eagle Pass, Texas, below: