DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The federal government has no plans to send thousands of undocumented immigrants to Broward and Palm Beach counties from the U.S.-Mexico border, Customs and Border Protection officials said.
Officials made Friday afternoon’s announcement, first reported by The Miami Herald, in an effort to dispel reports from local sheriffs that immigration officials were preparing to fly as many as 500 people a month to South Florida.
Customs and Border Protection officials clarified that they have been preparing “contingency” plans for the possibility of sending these immigrants to South Florida from the inundated southwest border, but they are not transporting families to South Florida at this time.
The initial reports had left Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis confused. Friday morning, he said he planned to fight the reported federal plan.
“We’ve been very cooperative, and I think to have this then put into certain communities, I think it’s just something that we don’t — so I’m going to be addressing this,” DeSantis said during a bill signing ceremony in Sarasota.
Customs and Border Protection officials said they are working with border patrol sectors across the country to find locations to place these families who cross from Mexico.
“I’ve had conversations, but we’re going to have to do some more on this, for sure,” said DeSantis.
As law enforcement agencies across South Florida started to hear word such a policy was in place, local entities started to prepare for the arrivals.
“Obviously, what’s intended here is to put the burden on those local governments,” said Ron Book with the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.
“I’m sure a lot of them are going to find their way down to Miami-Dade,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
If that ends up being the case, Gimenez said, he is not too concerned because the area has seen a heavy influx of immigrants before.
“We had hundreds of Cuban immigrants come to Miami-Dade County for a long time, and we were able to help them,” he said.
Thomas Kennedy, with the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said these immigrants do not mean South Floridians harm.
“These people are not here to criminalize our communities or wreak havoc,” said Thomas Kennedy with the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
Kennedy believes most residents wouldn’t notice any changes.
“The numbers that we’ve seen outlined so far do not correspond to the characterization about a mass influx of immigrants or a crisis in our communities,” he said.
Customs and Border Protection officials stressed no flights are currently scheduled, and they have not made a decision on the matter.
Nevertheless, Palm Beach County officials sent out formal letters saying this is a policy decision they do not support.
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