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Photo: Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Photo: Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

DeSantis unveils first formal campaign immigration policy after visit to southern border

The Florida Governor was in Eagle Pass, Texas over the weekend to tour the border.

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis unveiled his first major policy rollout of his 2024 presidential campaign on Monday, June 26 in Eagle Pass, Texas at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall. DeSantis toured the southern border Sunday — his first visit as a candidate. 

A few of the harsh measures include sending the U.S. military to the border and mass detention and deportation of undocumented people, ending birthright citizenship and building a wall at the southern border. 

DeSantis was at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. last Friday where he spoke to a large audience of Christian conservatives about his plans for the border if elected. 

“I will finally be the president to bring the issue of our open southern border to a conclusion,” DeSantis said. “On day one, we declare a national emergency. We mobilize all the assets, including the military.”

Donald Trump served as keynote speaker for the audience of Christian conservatives, at one point in the night saying he would sign an executive order ending automatic citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.

“We had the most successful and strongest border in American history,” the former President said.

In his proposal, the governor claims the Biden administration is the “critical link in an illegal transnational human smuggling syndicate,” and proceeded to criticize both parties for failing to solve the border crisis. 

“For decades, leaders from both parties have produced empty promises on border security, and now it is time to act to stop the invasion once and for all,” DeSantis said. “As president, I will declare a national emergency on day one and will not rest until we build the wall, shut down illegal entry, and win the war against the drug cartels. No excuses. We will get it done.”

DeSantis said he would end the “catch and release” policy that allows some non-violent individuals to reside in the U.S. while they await a court hearing on their immigration and asylum claims, by calling for the detention of undocumented people until their hearing date, which could lead to the detaining of over tens of thousands of people. 

He also laid out in his policy plan that the reading of the 14th Amendment is “inconsistent with the original understanding” and says he would “force the courts and Congress to finally address the failed policy.” 

The governor also vowed to deport “criminal aliens,” who were not specified, and those who overstay their visas. 

According to the Department of Homeland Security, about 850,000 foreign visitors overstayed in 2022.

With recent polls showing a decline in popularity, the governor’s campaign plans will slightly alter from reiterating his successes as governor to going at immigration and President Joe Biden’s inaction in regards to the issue, according to DeSantis spokesman Andrew Romeo 

“Joe Biden’s open border policies have destroyed our sovereignty,” Romeo said. 

According to a new NBC News national poll, 51% of Republican primary voters picked former President Donald Trump as their first choice GOP nomination, compared to roughly 22% for DeSantis. 

His slow start can be attributed to Trump’s social media attacks and the governor’s glitch-ridden campaign launch last month. 

Sunday was DeSantis’ second border trip just this month, but his first as a Presidential candidate  as an earlier visit to Arizona was billed as an official state visit. 

Speaking earlier this year on immigration, DeSantis said he’d send over 1,100 personnel to the Texas border. 

Over 400 members of the Florida National Guard are currently deployed there and located anywhere from Eagle Pass to Brownsville, said Amelia Johnson, a deputy director with the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

The Governor’s office also announced earlier this month that the Florida teams had come across over 5,800 undocumented migrants and helped the Texas Department of Public Safety with more than 190 arrests concerning drugs, weapons and human smuggling. 

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