DeSantis says he’ll greet asylum seekers with The Wall, expulsions

Governor: ‘If you come across the border illegally, you get sent back’

By: - May 12, 2023 2:58 pm

Beachgoers gather near the U.S.-Mexico border barrier, which extends into the Pacific Ocean, on April 7, 2022, in Tijuana, Mexico. Credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images

Gov. Ron DeSantis sounded like he was already sitting in the Oval Office Friday in commenting about the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, a crossing he said he would close and resume work on former President Donald Trump’s border wall to halt the influx of asylum seekers.

“The border should be shut down. I mean, this is ridiculous what’s going on. You shut it down. You do need to construct a wall,” the governor said during a news conference in Fort Myers.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation outlawing use of an official digital currency in his state in Fort Myers on May 12, 2023. Source:: Screenshot/DeSantis Facebook

DeSantis even offered to send workers from Florida to the border to do the construction. “We’ll get it done,” he said.

“We also need to just have a policy: If you come across the border illegally, you get sent back. You don’t get a notice to appear for a trial in two years. What kind of a deterrent is that? It doesn’t work,” the governor continued.

“We also have to come to terms with all the amount of fentanyl that’s coming into our country because of this border. And who’s doing it, it’s these Mexican drug cartels. They need to be held accountable. We can’t just let our people die,” he added.

“That’s a Day One issue. I mean, you’ve got to be really, really determined. You can’t let it slide, you can’t make excuses, you gotta go in and you gotta really go in with all guns blazing and using all the leverage that you have to be able to do it.”

Court ruling

DeSantis spoke the morning after a federal judge in Pensacola blocked the Biden administration’s plan to parole asylum seekers into the country pending hearings on their claims. U.S. District Judge T. Kent Wetherell ruled the plan ran against federal law requiring the detention of these newcomers. The midnight sunset of Title 42, a Trump-era program excluding asylum seekers on public health grounds, has encouraged a rush of border crossings.

The ruling “is putting some sand in the gears for them,” DeSantis said of the Biden administration.

“And maybe it will cause them to look internally and say, ‘Maybe we should start doing our job and actually protecting the American people for a change,’ because they have not been willing to do that and, in fact, you now see more people than ever are prepared to storm across,” he told reporters.

And he offered this thought, seemingly ripe for inclusion in a campaign add:

“This country doesn’t get things right anymore. I mean, part of the thing with the hurricane [Ian] when we responded, a lot of people here were very appreciative, but it was almost like it was unexpected that government could actually do a decent job at anything. And there’s a lot of reasons for that, but I kinda think if this happened during World War II, we would have gotten the border secured in like 72 hours. It would have been done. There would have been no questions about any of this. So, we need a little bit of that can-do spirit.”

‘Bogus’ claims

DeSantis, dismissing many of the asylum claims as “bogus,” argued asylum seekers legally are obliged to file in any intermediary safe countries. He’d require them to wait in Mexico pending processing of their claims. “You’re removing the incentives for them to want to come to begin with. They’re coming now because Biden has told them anybody can come,” he said.

“You also need to take all the people that came for Biden and they do need to be sent back to their home country. There’s no other way you can do this unless you’re willing to send back.”

The governor lashed out at Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has accused DeSantis of “taking repressive, inhumane measures against migrants in Florida because he wants to be a candidate” for president. DeSantis has been building a presidential campaign but has yet to formally enter the Republican primary.

“You have this Mexican president, he’s criticizing Florida for enacting laws against illegal immigration. It’s like, he’s got a disaster on his hands,” DeSantis said.

“He’s got cartels that are totally out of control that are running his country. And all the millions of people coming into our country, they’re all going through his country. I mean, what kind of a country just allows people by the millions to just traverse through like that?” he continued.

‘Best interests of the American people’

“Immigration is about what is in the best interests of the American people. No foreigner has a right to come to this country. You, as Americans, have a right to enact laws that provide whatever type of process you deem appropriate for that. But you can’t have people coming in superseding the rule of law and just doing it on their own. So, that’s something that’s important to just validate that idea that we actually do as Americans control our immigration system.”

DeSantis addressed the matter during a bill-signing ceremony for legislation (SB 7054) barring use of a central bank digital currency, similar to cryptocurrencies but operated by a central bank such as the U.S. Federal Reserve. President Joe Biden last year ordered a study into whether such a system would make sense for the United States. DeSantis fears it would allow the government to surveil citizens’ purchases and punish them for disfavored buying decisions, perhaps including weapons purchases.

He signed separate legislation (SB 214) blocking banks from using merchant category codes to single out gun purchases and possibly discriminate against gun buyers.

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Michael Moline
Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal.