Jun 27, 2023

DeSantis unveils New Immigration and Border Policy Transcript

DeSantis Declares He Will Build Border Wall If Elected President In 2024 Transcript
RevBlogTranscripts2024 ElectionDeSantis unveils New Immigration and Border Policy Transcript

At a press briefing in Eagle Pass, Texas, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) pledged to build a border wall to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Read the transcript here.

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (00:00):

We’ll get rolling here. There you go.

Well, good morning. Welcome to South Texas. As a Florida native, born and bred, used to the heat, but this is pretty significant. Particularly you guys coming from other parts of the country, this is the real deal. But it’s important that we’re here because on January 20th, 2025, we will be on a mission to stop the invasion at our southern border, to fight the drug cartels that are poisoning our citizenry, to build the border wall, and to reestablish the sovereignty of this nation. We are done with promises. We are done with slogans. Now is the time for action. No excuses. We will get the job done. And I’m thankful to have Congressman Chip Roy here with me as well as State Representative from Florida, Cayenne Michael. You’ll be hearing from them in just a minute. The problems at this border are readily apparent for anybody who actually takes the time to study the problem.

First, it is humiliating as a country to not have control over our own territory. This border behind us, in spite of all the great efforts of Texas and Florida sent people, this border because of the neglect of the Biden Administration, because of their intentional failures, this border is controlled by the Mexican drug cartels. That is a disgrace, that is horrific, and yet that is exactly what is happening. What has happened since Joe Biden took office? Millions and millions of illegal aliens have poured in into this country. And yes, there have been criminal aliens that have come in. There have been people that our own government says are on the terror watch list. There are people that have been deported multiple times already who are coming back into this country. That is not good for the American people.

And that’s not limited to just these border towns. We’ve had instances in Florida where people have been killed by people that have come across the border illegally under Biden’s watch. It’s unacceptable and it needs to stop. When you have this many people, mass migration at this scale represents a huge burden on communities. It represents a burden on taxpayers. It represents a burden on medical, on education, on criminal justice. And it’s not just limited to towns in South Texas. We’re seeing the impact in communities all across the United States of America. Also, what we’re seeing here is profoundly unfair to American citizens who are having to bear the brunt of this illegal migration. It’s also unfair to legal immigrants who’ve actually navigated the process like they’re supposed to. It’s almost like they could have saved a lot of time and been better off had they just shown up at the border illegally. What kind of message is that sending to people who are actually doing the right thing?

You notice vast expanses of this southern border does not have a border wall. The federal government has not gotten that job done. That’s made it so much easier for people to be able to come to this country illegally. I note that Texas has had to put up barbed wire, they’ve had to put up different types of boxes to deter people, and I’m glad that they’re doing that. But honestly, this is a national border. This is the border for the United States. It should be the national government, the federal government who’s coming in and securing it. And yes, I support the state stepping up in these instances, but this is a major failure that people are allowed to come in the way they are. You look at what’s happened with border patrol, they are undermanned, they are not properly resourced, and they’re having to do this fight with one tide behind their back. No wonder why morale is so low. They are not being treated the way they should be.

And I think that anybody, if you want to say that this is a Texas problem or an Arizona problem, then the only way you can say that is if you totally close your eyes to the devastating impacts of Fentanyl on this country because there are mothers who have lost kids in every community in this country with this scourge. We were at an event just at the VFW down the street. We had so many mothers who were telling the story about tragically losing a loved one. This is unacceptable, but this is a huge, huge cost on our society to have this amount of product that’s moving into our country across this porous border. It is devastating communities. It is devastating families.

You also see the cost of the people who get caught up in this operation because what it effectively is, it’s a vast human smuggling operation orchestrated by the drug cartels, but tacitly encouraged by the US federal government. Florida actually has a big grand jury investigation in place. That grand jury has issued reports and it is documented how some of these minors are being treated by being brought across the border in ways that are really, really horrifying. Many of the people who are making this trip are victimized by what is going on in Mexico and here across the border. So we need to do something about it and we’re not going to make excuses. We’re not just going to do empty promises. We are going to deliver results. And this is going to be a day one priority starting January 20th, 2025.

First, we are going to declare this issue of the border to be a national emergency on day one. That will give us authorities to be able to marshal all available resources to be able to meet this moment and reestablish the sovereignty of our country. That, of course, involves reversing Joe Biden’s disastrous border policies. We are going to end catch and release, we are going to end phony asylum claims, and we will do everything we can through executive action. We’ll also support legislative initiatives such as what Congressman Roy has done. We are going to build a border wall. Walls work. When you have the walls in place, it diverts traffic away from that and it makes it so that the border patrol and ICE are able to do their job appropriately. So that’s going to get done.

And we’ve got to wade through bureaucracy, we got to cut through red tape. We have a history of doing that in Florida. When Hurricane Ian came, it knocked out bridges in southwest Florida. People said it was going to take six months to be able to repair these bridges. The Pete residents of the islands were told to get off the islands. That just couldn’t get done. They came to me and asked if the state could take over. We did. We did the Pine Island bridge. It didn’t take months. We did that in three days. We did three breaks repaired on the Sanibel Causeway in two weeks. And so you can do it, and I think a leader will identify ways in which you can get the job done, not make excuses about why you can’t get the job done.

I’ve also noticed, we were in Arizona recently, there was a big wall and it stopped, and so people could just go around it. But if you go to parts of the wall where it was there, you’d have the drug cartels actually cut through these really strong metal beams. And you have these guys with the backpacks and they scurry right in through the wall. And I’m just thinking to myself, how could a country let that happen? So we’re going to create adequate rules of engagement. If somebody were breaking into your house to do something bad, you would respond with force. Yet, why don’t we do that at the southern border? So if the cartels are cutting through the border wall, trying to run product into this country, they’re going to end up stone-cold dead as a result of that bad decision. And if you do that one time, you are not going to see them mess with our wall ever again.

You can sit here and talk about all the different things with respect to illegal immigration, but if there’s not an adequate sanction for coming illegally, you’re going to still have people that want to come. If you can come, get a sheet of paper with a court date to come back in two years and stay in the interior of our country, of course people are going to do that. And so when people come illegally, the policy is you’re apprehended and you’re removed

Gov. Ron DeSantis (09:00):

… Be moved back to your home country, you should not be released into the interior of this country. And so yes, part of that’ll be remain in Mexico and having some of those policies with asylum claims, but part of it has got to be at the border immediately repatriating and then having robust interior enforcement such as not having employment for people that are here illegally. We need to support the border patrol. They need to be paid a higher salaries and we will support doing that. They also shouldn’t have to do their jobs with one hand tied behind their backs, and that goes for immigration and custom enforcement as well. So we’re going to have a rule of law, when that law is violated, there’s going to be a sanction for doing that. And if you’re able to establish that, you are going to see this problem go down dramatically.

And we speak from experience on this too, in Florida, we’re not a southern border state, but we are a maritime state and we have boats that run illegally, attempt to run into Florida from places like Haiti and Cuba. The Coast Guard is in charge of doing that. They do a good job, they just don’t have enough ships. So Florida has surged our maritime assets. We fill in the gaps. People that come on these boats are interdicted turned over to the Coast Guard and then they’re deported back to Haiti or Cuba or wherever they came from. And once we started doing that, the number of boats even attempting to come fell off dramatically. Why would you want to go make this type of a journey across really choppy water sometimes if you know the end result is that you’re going to be sent back to where you came from? People realize they’re not going to do that.

Same principle applies with this border. If they know they’re not going to make it to the interior or the country, you’re going to see a huge decline in people willing to do it. Now, in order to get that done, we are going to empower states and localities to enforce federal immigration law. Right now they say, “Oh, only the federal government can do it.” And that would be one thing to say if states were trying to undermine the law, and I think they can’t do that, but there’s laws on the books. The federal government is not following it. They’re doing things like catch and release, which they don’t have the authority to do. And yet you have a sheriff down here, or you have Texas wanting to step up and do what needs to be done, and somehow they should be handicapped from that. I don’t think so.

I support the right of states and localities to enforce federal immigration law. As long as you’re upholding the law and not trying to undermine the law, you’re going to be able to do it and we are going to support you. On the flip side of that, we are going to penalize sanctuary jurisdictions. If there’s a national policy that immigration must be lawful, and you have states and cities that are undermining that by saying they’re not going to cooperate, that is totally unacceptable. And so we’ll pull the levers at our disposal to penalize jurisdictions that do that. We also need to remove the incentives to come illegally to begin with, and that means employment. That means taxpayer finance benefit. It also means this idea that you can come across the border, two days later, have a child, and somehow that’s an American citizen. That was not the original understanding of the 14th amendment, and so we’ll take action to force a clarification of that.

But I think it’s wrong that people would use our country for things like birth tourism. So we’re going to be removing the incentives to come into this country illegally. And then finally, and maybe most importantly, we are going to treat the Mexican drug cartels as the threat that they are. They responsible for coming into our country and killing tens of thousands of Americans. And yet the ruling class in DC, both Republicans and Democrats through the years have basically just shrugged their shoulders, and so the carnage continues to mount. We are going to be designating the cartels, either transnational criminal organizations or federal foreign terrorist organizations. There’s different legal things that come from each, but we’re going to make sure we have an appropriate designation so that it unlocks our ability to hold the cartels accountable, both in terms of finance, but also in terms of any direct action that may be needed to be able to curtail and ultimately defeat the cartels.

Part of that recognizes that with the current fentanyl trade, a lot of what’s happening is these precursors are sent into Mexico. The cartels are creating the drug, and then they’re moving the drug into the United States of America. We’ll mobilize the Coast Guard and the Navy to interdict precursor chemicals. It’s totally unacceptable that we would just simply allow that to happen knowing the huge, huge death toll that’s resulted because of what the cartels are doing. So this is going to be a day one priority for us. There’s many more things we’re going to do and we’ll talk more about that in the days, weeks, and months to come. But at the end of the day, we are going to be the administration that finally brings the issue of our southern border to a conclusion. We will stop the invasion. We will reassert our nation’s sovereignty, and we will fight these cartels so that Americans stop dying from their poison. I want to recognize Chip Roy to come up and say a few words and then Cayenne Michael.

Chip Roy (14:55):

Well, thanks Governor. It’s an honor to be here standing alongside him. Couple of weeks ago, federal judge in the northern district of Texas, Reed O’Connor had issued a order in which he upward departed on the sentencing guidelines because of the horrors that he saw in a stash house in Fort Worth Texas. Fort Worth Texas, not here in Eagle Pass, but in Fort Worth, where you have a stash house, where you have individuals who are being sold basically and charged $10,000, but children $13,000. The fact is there’s a reason for that. Children are getting sold into the sex trafficking trade. There was a dad who was an illegal immigrant in Baltimore. He was being held up for ransom for $23,000, $23,000 because of what they would say they would do to his daughter and his wife. That’s what the greatest country, the most powerful country in the history of the world has allowed to happen with our borders.

856 migrants who have passed away along the southern border, along the Rio Grande, children getting sold into sex trafficking trade. This morning I was proud to join with the governor, the VFW and Eagle Pass, with sheriffs from around South Texas, with moms, fentanyl moms, angel moms who have lost their loved ones because of fentanyl trafficking and because of the dangers of illegal immigrants posed to our citizenry. Ranchers who are getting absolutely decimated here in South Texas, their fences and their livestock. This problem is real, and that’s why I’m proud to be standing alongside Governor DeSantis, who has a proven track record of doing what he said he would do, of getting things done. He’s helped us already, sending the National Guard. He’s helped us already, sending Florida troopers. He’s here to protect us, doing the job to protect Floridians while also standing alongside Texans on the front lines.

That’s the kind of leadership we want to see. The kind of leadership that led to winning by a million and a half votes in Florida, winning Hispanic voters by 62% and winning 50% of single women voters. It is time, as the governor said, for no excuses. The American people are tired of it. No more excuses. Secure the border, no excuses. Build the wall, no excuses. Follow the law, enforce the law, no excuses. And take out the cartels and restore our operational control of that border. No excuses. Governor DeSantis is the man to do that, and I’m proud to endorse him and support him.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (17:25):

All right, thanks. We were able to, as Chip mentioned, meet with angel moms who’ve had loved ones killed because of this open border. And this is not something that unfortunately is new in this country. This has been happening for many, many years, and a lot of people, a lot of elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats in DC, they just ignore these folks. They’re not doing anything to really make life better or to vindicate the losses

Gov. Ron DeSantis (18:00):

… by saying it’s not going to happen again. We just feel differently about this. We think our angel parents need to be heard from and we need to make sure that we’re reforming in ways so that doesn’t happen anymore in the future. And so joining us is Kiyan Michael. She’s now a Florida State Representative that just got elected in November, but I got to know her when we were doing our efforts to combat illegal immigration in Florida, way back in 2019 with the ban on sanctuary cities. And she carried our most recent bill to Kirby Legal Immigration in the state and has really been a champion for this issue because it’s very personal to her. So she’s going to share her story with you right now.

Speaker 1 (18:45):

Well, thank you so much Governor. And I am here mainly because I know firsthand what happens when we do not secure our border. Unfortunately, what propelled me to run for a state house was because I knew the borders were going to be left wide open. And because of what happened to our family in 2007, August 15th, our son, Brandon Randolph Michael, all the way in Jacksonville, Florida, which would not have been considered a border city or town, but because the failures here didn’t stop and the laws were not upheld, we are now having big issues across the United States. Brandon was 21 years old. He was on his way to go cash his paycheck, and he should have been safe in his own city as all Americans. You should be safe where you live, you should be safe where you work. When a twice deported illegal that came in through the southern border crashed into our child.

And I can tell you, as a mother, it’s the worst thing, as parents, it’s the worst thing you can ever hear. He was given only two years. We had to go through a lengthy trial. He was only given two years of jail time and now deported for the third time. And he is probably back in the United States. And that propelled me to not only speak out, but to have a governor by my side from the very beginning. As angel parents, we get tired of hearing we’re going to do something, we’re going to do something, and nothing happens. But Governor DeSantis sat down back in 2019 and he sat across the table with sheriffs, looking us in the eyes and listening to our story. He wanted to hear from us what happened, and I could see that he actually cared.

And we could tell a difference, all of us, when people are real and when they’re just talking. This man is real. And I can tell you as a mother, as a parent, it has been just phenomenal for us. You’ve brought healing to our family. You have stood when others have sat down. And I could tell you it takes boldaudacity, if that’s a word, to do what you have done in the state of Florida, to stand up. And I can see everything that you told us you were going to do, you have done it. And I thank you for that. Because as angel parents, as parents, period, we are not going to stop going after securing our nation and preventing this from happening to somebody else. So to have the honor to now serve in the house, but I’ll always be the number one thing. And that’s Brandon’s mom. And I speak for other angel parents and I thank you for what you’re doing.

We need you as president. We need you to stand for us. And I know you will, and I know you have. But there is nobody else that’s going to fight like this Governor fights. There’s nobody else who means what he says and says what he does and means it. There’s nobody else that’s going to stand for every American and make sure that you’re safe other than Governor DeSantis. And I thank you for having me. Thank you for standing by our family. Thank you for listening. Thank you that I saw the tears in your eyes. You probably didn’t know this. As a father, I could see it that you really cared. And I saw the strength of a man that was a man of conviction, but also as Governor, that you would not bank down from anybody. And that’s what we need as leadership in this nation. And we’re blessed to have you. Now we get to share you with the rest of the US. So God bless you. Thank you so much for allowing me to speak.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (22:25):

Thanks. One of the things that I think was… And I’ve been involved in this issue, we sent people to help Texas in 2021. We’ve fought, we’ve sued Biden on catching release in Florida. And it’s been an issue we’ve been dug in on. And we obviously understand a lot of the really negative impacts to our society. But I’ll tell you, just having been here, talking to folks, listening to their stories, I mean to have you own property down here and in the middle of the night you got 10 people banging on your window at 2:00 in the morning who had just come across the border illegally. How many Americans in other parts of the country would ever be willing to just tolerate that, if that was happening in your communities? Of course you wouldn’t do that. How many mothers have had to bury loved ones every day, that can throw you off course if you let it. We’re not going to do that. We know where North is and we’re going to get it done.

Speaker 2 (23:21):

Governor, were you saying before that if say, law enforcements believe that someone is crossing and [inaudible 00:23:26] can that law enforcement be able to open fire? And then secondly, when you talked about direct action, you want be able to take direct action against the cartel. Are you sending the military over the border into Mexico to take that action?

Gov. Ron DeSantis (23:39):

So we will use all levers at our disposal to win the fight. I think, if somebody is breaking through the border wall, which they are doing in other parts, demonstrating hostile intent or hostile action, you have to be able to meet that with the appropriate use of force. I don’t see how you can just let them do that and carve through a wall on sovereign US territory with a backpack full of drugs. And so-

Speaker 2 (24:09):

[inaudible 00:24:09].

Gov. Ron DeSantis (24:10):

Of course, you use deadly force. I mean, would you let somebody just break into your house and do your harm? No. And I could tell you in Texas they wouldn’t do that. Try that in Texas. Why is our country any different? And these guys will bring like blow torches. They have a huge thing that the cartels are doing. And how embarrassing is it that the places we have a wall… I was there the other day in Arizona. They’re repairing the wall because they busted through the wall. I mean, that is just unacceptable. And I’ll tell you, if you drop a couple of these cartel operatives trying to do that, you’re not going to have to worry about that anymore. They will not mess. They’re only messing with it because they know they can get away with it.

Speaker 3 (24:57):

Sheriff Sara [inaudible 00:24:58] County has filed charges against you for shipping migrants-

Gov. Ron DeSantis (25:02):

Against me?

Speaker 3 (25:03):


Gov. Ron DeSantis (25:05):

That’s news to me.

Speaker 3 (25:06):

Are you going to continue to push migrants from San Antonio to other places? And can you tell us why you decided to use San Antonio as a Republican?

Gov. Ron DeSantis (25:15):

So we have a program for transport to sanctuary jurisdictions. It is done by contractors who take the job and they’re able to do and identify sanctuary jurisdictions as appropriate. It’s not being directed in any one particular part of Texas or Florida or anywhere else. And it’s someplace that can be done at their discretion. And so I think it’s been very effective and it’s something that our legislature has authorized and will be continue to be used. Yep?

Speaker 4 (25:46):

Governor, what would you say to President Trump? Does he need to get out of the way and let other Republicans come forward?

Gov. Ron DeSantis (25:53):

Well, obviously I’m running to win because I think that we will be able to… Of course you got to compete, win the primary. We think we can win a really strong general election victory, expand the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, and then actually be able to bring all these issues to fruition. And when you bring the issues to fruition and actually get the job done and deliver results, that at the end of the day, I think is what people really, really want to see.

And in Florida, everything we promise we did and we actually over delivered on our promises. And I think that that’s something that’s very, very significant. When you look at most people that get elected to office, they overpromise and underdeliver. How many times have you seen somebody meet the promises much less exceed them? And I think that that’s the mindset that we have. But part of the reason we’re able to get this done is because we just have a discipline and focus about doing the people’s work and getting that job done. My job as a vehicle and a leader to be able to bring all this to fruition. And we’re very focused

Gov. Ron DeSantis (27:00):

… on making sure that these things get done. And here’s the thing, the issue here is important because there’s crime, drugs, communities are overwhelmed, 100%, but it’s also just a larger issue about, can our country get big things done anymore? I feel like, during World War II, we would’ve had this border sealed in a couple weeks. Now, we’re in a situation where this has been a problem for years, and years, and years. So I think it’ll be good for the country to just say, “You know what? They finally dealt with the issue.” You got anything, Bill?

Speaker 2 (27:34):

Governor, former President Trump, he says he’s the guy to [inaudible 00:27:38] the border. Where does your policy differentiate? When I talked to you yesterday, you said he essentially failed on his promise to carry out [inaudible 00:27:45]. He’s promising to do it again this time. So where specifically do you [inaudible 00:27:49]?

Gov. Ron DeSantis (27:50):

Well, I don’t think it’s that I said that. I think, if you look at the results, I think I was shocked when they were telling me that Obama’s first four years had more deportations than Trump’s term, which is incredible that that would be the case. And so that never came to fruition. Obviously, you did have some wall built, but not nearly enough in terms of that, and I don’t think they even started doing it for a number of years going forward. So I think a lot of the things he’s saying I agree with, but I also think those are the same things that were said back in 2016. And here’s the thing, we’re not getting a mulligan on this one. Okay? We either win the election or this is never going to be fixed. And then once you get in there, you either fix it because, if you don’t fix it this time, I don’t think it’s ever going to get done, and so we will do it.

Now, where we differ on is we’re more aggressive in terms of our plan than anything he did in empowering local officials to enforce immigration law. There’s a lot of sheriffs here. There’s a lot of local who really want to do it. I think that that’s something that’s very, very important to be able to do. We also said we’re going to lean in against the drug cartels. They didn’t really do anything in prior administrations to hold the drug cartels accountable. I think we need to do that and we will do that robustly. Yes, ma’am.

Speaker 5 (29:20):

[inaudible 00:29:08], you mentioned that some of these things have long existed, these problems that you’re talking about. Some of the proposals that you are sharing are similar to what already [inaudible 00:29:21]. These are going to be big challenges that require [inaudible 00:29:32] and also-

Gov. Ron DeSantis (29:35):

Well, some do.

Speaker 5 (29:35):

… large people [inaudible 00:29:37].

Gov. Ron DeSantis (29:36):

Some do, some don’t. I think there’s a combination of things you can do by executive action and I think that there’s … Biden is interpreting enforcement in ways that are basically inviting people to come illegally. We will interpret the current laws in ways that disincentivize people from coming illegally. But if you look at something like Remain in Mexico, of course, you do that. That’s not the whole of the policy. There’s so many other things you got to do. But why, if somebody is traversing multiple countries and then claiming asylum here, would you give them a ticket to go to the interior of the country? Normally, if you are somebody that legitimately qualifies for asylum, the first country you get to, you claim asylum. That’s the expectation, and yet that hasn’t happened. You have people come across multiple countries.

So there’s a lot we can do just in terms of saying, ” Here’s the marker that we’re going to have,” but I can tell you this, if people realize doing this big trek, claiming asylum is not going to get you a ticket into the interior of the country, you are going to see a huge, huge reduction in the number of people that are even going to try to do this going forward. And I think we showed that in Florida, quite frankly, with our maritime policy and I think we would show the same thing here today. Yes, ma’am.

Speaker 2 (30:55):

[inaudible 00:30:56] how would you work with Mexico President [inaudible 00:30:57]? He has spoken out against the notion of having Americans on Mexican soil. He’s also spoken out again the US [inaudible 00:30:57]. How would you [inaudible 00:31:08]?

Gov. Ron DeSantis (31:08):

I don’t know that he’s going to be in office. I think his term will be up. And so it’ll be interesting to see who ends up being there. But look, we’re going to use whatever leverage we have to ensure that this issue is brought to a conclusion. And I think Mexico, in the past, they’ve been helpful on some things, very unhelpful on others. Clearly, you could not have millions and millions of people illegally crossing our border if Mexico was a 100% partner with us in this.

And so I think that their government’s relationship to the cartels is not something that I appreciate. We’re going to be much stronger on the cartels. I know that he said he wants to basically run interference for the cartels. I think that’s a mistake. I don’t think the cartels have been good for Mexico, but I can tell you it’s been an absolute disaster what they’ve been able to get away with here in the United States. And so we’re going to bring our authority to bear to make sure that we’re defending this country and defending the American people. All right. We’ll have more to say …

Transcribe Your Own Content

Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.