DeSantis Offers to Send Florida National Guard to California

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DeSantis Offers to Send Florida National Guard to California

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would be “happy” to send some of his state’s National Guard troops to California to help curb illegal immigration.

“If California actually wants to stop people coming across the border, I’m happy to send [troops] to California…because ultimately, I want the whole border secure,” DeSantis told Fox NewsSean Hannity on Thursday evening.

DeSantis is one of several Republican governors who has supported Texas Governor Greg Abbott in his fight with the White House over border security measures. The Florida governor announced prior to his appearance on Fox News that he is deploying approximately 1,000 of his state’s National Guard soldiers to Texas to “stop the invasion at the southern border.”

“Texas is the first step, but we need all states to have secure borders,” DeSantis told Hannity.

Ron DeSantis speaks in Iowa
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a campaign event for his since-suspended presidential bid at the Chrome Horse Saloon on January 14, 2024 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. On Thursday, DeSantis offered to send Florida National…

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Context

Abbott’s administration has clashed with President Joe Biden in recent months over the increasing number of migrants coming across the U.S. southern border. The fight with federal law enforcement came to its head last week after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that federal Border Patrol agents were authorized to remove razor wire installed under Abbott’s direction to deter migrant crossing. The White House argued that the wire prevented Border Patrol agents from reaching migrants as they crossed the Rio Grande.

Meanwhile, DeSantis has been caught in his own months-long feud with California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat. The two have repeatedly publicly criticized each other’s differing policies on topics such as immigration, crime and abortion.

What We Know

A coalition of 25 Republican governors backed Abbott after the SCOTUS ruling last week, writing that they “stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border.” Several states have also offered to send resources—including National Guard soldiers—o help Texas bolster its border security.

DeSantis said in a statement Thursday that his state is deploying members of the Florida National Guard and Florida State Guard to further assist Texas. The deployment is in addition to the 90 officers from the state’s Highway Patrol, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Department of Law Enforcement that were already sent to Texas.

Views

Newsom’s policies on crime and immigration in his state are consistent talking points for conservatives. Hannity joked with DeSantis during Thursday’s episode of Hannity that illegal immigrants seeking to cross the southern border should choose to go to California because it’s the “friendliest state” for migrants.

“They’ll treat you better as an illegal alien if you show up in California than they will if you or I showed up, Sean, as just American citizens,” DeSantis told the Fox News host.

Newsweek reached out to Newsom’s office via email for comment.

Newsom has previously bashed DeSantis for his “political stunt” of relocating migrants from Texas to liberal cities across the U.S. Abbott has also participated in busing migrants across the country.

The Florida governor was also threatened with criminal investigations after flying dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in September 2022 and Sacramento, California, in June 2023.

What’s Next

Abbott has vowed to continue his aggressive immigration policies despite the pushback from the Biden administration. Meanwhile, the president has said that he has done “all I can do” in light of the stand-off between state and federal law enforcement.

“Just give me the power. Give me the border patrol. Give me the people. The judges. Give me the people who can stop this and make it work right,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday.

Update 2/1/24, 10:15 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with additional information and background.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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