Florida Passes Bill to Relocate Undocumented Immigrants

    Florida Passes Bill to Relocate Undocumented Immigrants
    Last updated Feb 10, 2023
    Image credit: AP [via NBC News]


    • The Florida state legislature passed a bill Friday that sets aside $10M to hire contractors to pick up undocumented immigrants from anywhere in the country and transport them elsewhere. The bill passed the House two days after the Senate and now heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature.[1]
    • The legislation — passed along party lines in both chambers — formalizes the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program enacted by DeSantis last year that enabled government officials to fly migrants to blue states that have sanctuary policies.[2]
    • This follows DeSantis' decision in September to relocate almost 50 Venezuelan immigrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Mass., after which the governor faced legal challenges alleging he violated Florida law by relocating them from outside the state.[1]
    • To avoid further legal battles, the bill — titled SB-6B and which passed 77-34 in the House — specifically authorizes the government to relocate migrants from other states and will only ship those who voluntarily agree to go to sanctuary cities and states.[3]
    • This comes just weeks after hundreds of Haitian and Cuban migrants landed in Florida, many by way of handmade boats.[2]
    • The bill came alongside two other legislative proposals, including one to strip Disney of its self-governing status and another that strengthens prosecutions tied to the state’s election police unit.[4]


    Democratic narrative

    These migrants are poor, homeless, and hungry refugees, not so-called illegal aliens, and DeSantis is using them to gain traction ahead of his potential presidential run. The governor and his GOP allies are outright admitting that this is a political stunt, which makes it all the worse. If signed, DeSantis' human trafficking policy will continue to target people based on race and national origin — constitutional violations that have already been brought up in previous lawsuits.

    Republican narrative

    Florida Republicans and their governor are using this as a national political stunt, but it's not to boost DeSantis' presidential bid. Florida and other border states have been left with no other choice as the Biden admin. ignores the country's illegal immigration crisis. This is the only way to make Democrats up north aware of this fact, and as long as their concerns keep falling on deaf ears, state governments are going to have to keep shipping the problem to their doorstep.

    Conservative narrative

    Though these migrant flights are understandable, governors like DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas shouldn't be pushing illegals further into the country; they should be deporting them. As Kari Lake promised to do if she became governor of Arizona, they should correctly categorize this crisis as an invasion and deport each undocumented immigrant back to where they came from.

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