DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Hundreds of migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border will be sent to Broward and Palm Beach counties, Broward officials announced.
Thursday’s news left officials in Broward and Palm Beach flummoxed.
“We know nothing about them,” said Broward Mayor Mark Bogen.
“There was nothing. We were not contacted prior to this,” said a Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.
Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said he learned of a federal government plan to send two planes a week, carrying nearly 300 migrants, to Broward and Palm Beach counties. He then told Bogen.
Speaking with 7News Thursday afternoon, Bogen criticized the government’s decision.
“We would be happy to help people. I think everybody here cares about people, and we want to help people, but we need the resources to do that,” he said. “It’s like asking someone to drive a car without giving them the wheels.”
County officials said they have been left with no plans, no resources and no information.
Bogen said the migrants will begin arriving in Broward County in about two weeks.
“We have no idea who they are,” he said.
Officials said the immigrants will be sent without “designated shelters or funding to house them, feed them, and keep them safe.”
“This policy is absolutely irresponsible,” said Bogen.
The mayor said it’s unclear whether these immigrants are predominantly families or political refugees. He also doesn’t know whether they have health problems.
“They’re not telling us anything about the people who are coming here,” said Bogen.
Officials said half the migrants will go to Palm Beach County.
Speaking with reporters Thursday evening, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said that plan is a danger to the community.
“It’s going to put a real strain on what the resources are,” he said. “This is a humanitarian issue. We understand that, but I want you to think through this for a minute. Is it humanitarian to bring people that have no real connection here?”
U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., released a statement on the issue that reads, “There is a crisis at the border that is leading to a flood of immigrants, but Democrats refuse to help fix it. There were almost 99,000 apprehensions at our Southern border in April, more than double the number of apprehensions in January, It’s a crisis, and it needs to be fixed.”
After weighing in on Twitter, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan addressing the issue.
Florida Democratic lawmakers have also voiced their opinions on the matter. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson released a statement that reads, “The Trump administration’s alleged proposal to send hundreds of migrants monthly to Broward and Palm beach counties without any arrangements for their care and safety is a cynical ploy that, if enacted, he hopes will sway the American public to side with him on how to best handle this issue.”
Thursday night, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., issued a statement that reads in part, “There’s a stunning amount of confusion surrounding the Administration’s outrageous immigration policy, even more today than usual … I hesitate saying more about these reports because no one in the Administration seems to know what is happening.”
In Broward, with a homeless population of several thousand, officials said, the system just can’t handle it.
“We don’t have resources right now,” said Bogen. “If the president is going to create a homeless encampment, I personally would suggest that we bring these people over to his hotel and ask the president to open his heart and home to these people as well.”
Broward officials said they will be reaching out to charities, nonprofits, businesses and other resources to help the migrants.
There appears to be no indication that Miami-Dade County will be included in the government’s plans for the migrants, but in a statement issued Thursday, Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he plans to meet with Broward and Palm Beach officials to see how his office may assist. It reads in part, “I have directed Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp to reach out to County Administrators from Broward and Palm Beach counties to see if we can obtain more information and to begin discussing how we can work together to prepare for an increase in people, should we need to take action.”
In 2017, Miami-Dade officials said it was not a sanctuary county and have voiced concern about going along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when it comes to detaining migrants in local jails.
Broward’s release ended with the following statement: “Broward County is not a sanctuary city and the Florida Senate recently passed a controversial bill banning such cities in the state. President Trump has threatened to send people who illegally cross the border to communities that are considered immigrant friendly.”
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