Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked the Florida Supreme Court to empanel a grand jury to examine international human smuggling networks including foreign nationals, drug cartels and coyotes that bring undocumented immigrants from the US/Mexico border into Florida.
DeSantis also announced the formation of a task force consisting of law enforcement personnel from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), and Sheriff’s Offices throughout the state to interdict illegal drug and human smugglers, human traffickers as well as undocumented immigrants carrying unpermitted firearms in the state.
According to DeSantis the strategies are intended to reduce the impact of current border policies on the state of Florida.
“What they are doing is just wrong,” DeSantis said during a June 17 press conference in Pensacola. “When someone says the border only affects border states, they’re wrong – Florida is not a border state, but it (current border policy) has a profound impact.”
During the past year, FHP Troopers and agents from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have made several arrests of alleged human traffickers along I-75 in Brooksville including a foreign national who has been illegally in the U.S. for about 19 years, and most recently a woman caught last month allegedly driving six unndocumented men who were from Mexico and Honduras from Houston,Texas to Tampa.
At the same time, DeSantis signed into law SB 1808. That measure forbids any government entity in Florida from doing business with common carriers including air transport firms contracted by the federal government to transport undocumented immigrants into the state.
“We don’t want to be like San Francisco or LA where the rule of law has effectively been suspended,” DeSantis said.
SB 1808 became effective on the governor’s signature.