TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced that Florida is sending 50 state law enforcement officers to Texas to help enforce the U.S.-Mexico border, though it remains unclear exactly what their mission will be and who will be paying for the effort.
“We are unable to share mission specifics at this time to protect the security of the missions they are working,” said Katie Strickland, a spokeswoman for the governor.
DeSantis said funding the mission has also not been determined.
“That is still a point of discussion,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Pensacola. “Typically, if someone would help us, you know, we would pick up some of their funding and so that is how we would hope that it goes. But we do not anticipate getting any federal funds.”
DeSantis’ focus on the U.S. border comes as Republicans across the country are using immigration to attack the Biden administration. As part of that effort, former President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the U.S. border next Wednesday with about a dozen House Republicans.
The governor, who is positioning himself for re-election in 2022 and is widely believed to be considering a run for the White House, said Friday that he may try to make a trip to the U.S. border himself.
“We look forward to seeing them in action. Hopefully, I will be able to get out there at some point and wish them well when they are on the ground,” DeSantis said, noting that the officers will be ready to work on Monday.
DeSantis first announced the state would be sending aid to Texas and Arizona to help combat illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. But his plan was devoid of any detail.
When asked, he did not know how many officers would be going, or what type of work they would be doing, and many of the local sheriff’s offices that DeSantis’ office identified as being committed to the mission told the Times/Herald that they did not have any details, either.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which was coordinating the effort with both states, had yet to nail down details on the mission as of Tuesday, agency spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said in an email.
By Friday, the plans became more clear and they also appeared to have changed.
Florida is not sending any aid to Arizona yet because the state has not requested it, a need from the state, Strickland said. Texas, however, will be receiving 50 state personnel from FDLE, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Deputies with the nine sheriff’s offices that volunteered to go on the mission will not be going to Texas. They will mostly be used to potentially “back fill” the positions left vacant by the state law enforcement officers who are deployed to the border, DeSantis said,
DeSantis added that locals were no longer needed in Texas because 50 state personnel were enough for Florida to “meet the need” in Texas.