Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday unveiled his plan to police the southern border by pledging to give local authorities more power to enforce the nation’s immigration laws.
One of the biggest changes would be to deputize local and state law enforcement officers to be able to deport migrants, arguing that states have the right to .step in if the federal government fails to do so.
“On Jan. 20, 2025, we will be on a mission to stop the invasion at our southern border to fight the drug cartels that are poisoning our citizenry, to build the border wall, and to reestablish the sovereignty of this nation,” DeSantis said during a campaign visit to Eagle Pass, Texas. “We are done with promises. We are done with slogans. Now is the time for action. No excuses. We will get the job done.”
DeSantis’ border security plan is the first formal policy proposal rollout of his month-old campaign for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
The Republican governor has criticized the Biden administration over the crisis at the border, which has seen record numbers of migrants in recent years.
Among other changes pledged by DeSantis was the ending of “catch and release” — a policy that allows migrants to be released into the U.S. while they await their asylum hearing — and to reimpose the “Remain in Mexico” policy.
He said if elected to the White House, he would declare the crisis at the southern border a “national emergency on day one” while holding the Mexican drug cartels accountable.
Combating illegal immigration has been a top priority for DeSantis, who has made a series of anti-illegal immigration moves as governor, including sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and most recently, California as part of a program to relocate illegal immigrants.
In response to his plan, the Democratic National Committee took aim at DeSantis.
“Ron DeSantis has repeatedly used young children and families as pawns in his shallow political stunts to pander to the MAGA base. This latest plan is more of the same – political gimmicks that are merely an echo of the same cruel and callous policies of the Trump administration that broke our immigration system,” DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa said in a statement.