Florida Governor Ron DeSantis expressed his willingness to deploy some of his state’s National Guard troops to California to assist in controlling illegal immigration. In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, DeSantis stated, “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, a supporter of Texas Governor Greg Abbott in the border security dispute with the White House, had previously announced the deployment of about 1,000 Florida National Guard soldiers to Texas to address the challenges at the southern border. He emphasized the importance of all states having secure borders, stating, “Texas is the first step, but we need all states to have secure borders.”
The context of the situation involves Abbott’s administration clashing with President Joe Biden over the increasing number of migrants crossing the southern U.S. border. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling authorized the removal of razor wire installed by Abbott to deter migrant crossings, leading to tensions between federal law enforcement and the Texas governor.
DeSantis has also been engaged in a longstanding feud with California Governor Gavin Newsom, with public criticisms exchanged on various policy matters such as immigration, crime, and abortion.
A coalition of 25 Republican governors, including DeSantis, expressed support for Abbott after the Supreme Court ruling, emphasizing solidarity in utilizing various tools, including razor wire fences, to secure the border. Multiple states, including Florida, offered resources, including National Guard soldiers, to assist Texas in strengthening its border security.
In response to the offer, DeSantis announced the deployment of members from the Florida National Guard and Florida State Guard to further aid Texas. This deployment supplements the 90 officers previously sent from Florida’s Highway Patrol, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Department of Law Enforcement.
During the interview with Hannity, DeSantis highlighted the consistency of conservative criticism regarding Newsom’s policies on crime and immigration in California. In a lighter tone, Hannity jokingly suggested that migrants should choose California, being the “friendliest state” for migrants, to which DeSantis responded, “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.”
Newsom has criticized DeSantis for what he deemed a “political stunt” of relocating migrants from Texas to liberal cities across the U.S. Abbott has also been involved in busing migrants across the country. DeSantis faced threats of criminal investigations for flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in September 2022 and Sacramento, California, in June 2023.
Looking ahead, Abbott remains committed to his robust immigration policies despite opposition from the Biden administration. President Biden expressed his limitations in resolving the standoff between state and federal law enforcement, stating, “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.”