Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has informed President Biden that as long as the border largely is left unprotected, unaccompanied migrant children will be barred from resettling in state-licensed facilities in the Sunshine State.
The governor’s general counsel, Ryan Newman, wrote in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services officials that it’s “critical that lines of responsibility and accountability are clearly drawn.”
“So long as the Biden administration continues its irresponsible immigration policies, Florida no longer wishes to be involved in the Federal Government’s UAC resettlement program,” said the letter, which was obtained by Breitbart News.
Newman wrote that the state-licensed Department of Children and Families facilities will lose their licenses if they accept unaccompanied alien children (UAC) who are being transported to the state under Biden’s program.
But Florida will reconsider its policy, the governor’s attorney said, if Biden reinstates former President Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols and remain-in-Mexico agreements, which stemmed a surge in illegal immigration.
“Faithful enforcement of federal immigration law to secure the border, deter illegal immigration, and prevent the surge of illegal aliens at the border, including UAC, is a baseline prerequisite to any future cooperative agreement involving the resettlement of UAC in Florida,” Newman wrote.
In January, DeSantis demanded the Biden administration reverse its decision to revoke emergency use authorization for monoclonal antibody treatments, arguing the move prevented “access to lifesaving treatments for Floridians and Americans.”
In another confrontation with the Biden administration in January, DeSantis said his state will not enforce the federal government’s mandatory vaccination policy for health care workers after it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The governor’s office argued that patients are being harmed because “hospitals in California and other states are now requiring vaccinated, COVID-infected healthcare workers to treat patients due to staffing shortages — which were exacerbated by vaccine mandates.”
States have ‘no obligation’
In the letter to HHS, DeSantis’ attorney said that for future agreements with the federal government to be considered, there are several other “parameters” that must be met.
Newman said “any such future cooperative agreement would need to include, at a minimum, advance notice when UAC are transported into Florida, verification that the UAC are under the age of 18 and do not have a criminal history or affiliation with criminal gangs, and an opportunity for the state to object if the number of UAC transported to Florida becomes excessive as compared to other states.”
The DeSantis letter was a response to an HHS inquiry to the governor sent after, as Breitbart reported in December, Florida issued a rule change that barred the renewal of licenses to facilities that house unaccompanied migrant minors.
Newman pointed out to HHS in the letter that Congress decided to require the federal government “to assume custody and care of UAC who arrive at the southern border.”
States, including Florida, therefore, “have no obligation to aid or assist the Federal Government’s policy choices.”
“The Federal Government has chosen to be the caretaker of UAC arriving at the border; it must take full responsibility for that choice,” he wrote.
Newman said the Biden administration has “exacerbated the UAC problem by pursuing open borders policies and lax immigration enforcement” resulting in more than 146,000 unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the border during Biden’s first year in office.
That’s compared with only 33,000 in the 2020 fiscal year.
Newman argued that the “burdens of this administration’s policies are not shared equally among the states.”
Only 22 states have contracted facilities that house the minors, he noted, and the federal government has placed estimated 4,284 UAC in Florida facilities over the last year. Another 11,145 unaccompanied minors were placed with sponsors in Florida last fiscal year, the second highest total in the country. California, with nearly twice the population of Florida, received only 10,773 minors.
Newman pointed out the dangers of Biden’s policies, arguing that by receiving and placing the young migrants, the federal government effectively is participating in the human trafficking scheme carried out by criminal cartels.
And the program is a “hazard” to Floridians.
“Most UAC are male teenagers nearing adulthoods, and some are gang members when they arrive or later become gang members,” the governor’s attorney wrote.
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