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Florida Governor Signs Executive Order To Combat Illegal Migration

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo courtesy of Flickr. 

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order, allowing the Florida National Guard to aid in the prevention of the increasing number of migrant refugees in the state. 

On Thursday, Jan. 12, the Coast Guard rescued refugees that were seen swimming toward the shore from a vessel off the Virginia Key, a small island just outside of Miami, FL. Furthermore, 25 Haitians who traveled on a sailboat to Virginia Key, were also apprehended by the Coast Guard, and placed into the custody of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

Gov. DeSantis signed the order criticizing President Joe Biden’s national immigration policy as the number of migrants from multiple countries, including Cuba and Haiti, continues to increase in large numbers. The state reported that around 300 illegal migrants had entered the country through Dry Tortugas National Park on New Year’s Day. As of Jan. 13, approximately 5,200 refugees had been discovered in various locations around Texas, while over 8,000 refugees have been transported back to their home countries. 

Many government agencies including the National Guard, Coast Guard and local law enforcement have united in order to address the increase in foreign refugees. A wide majority of the number of refugees fleeing to Florida are coming from Cuba and Haiti, with the Coast Guard intercepting around 177 Cuban and around two dozen Haitian refugees in Miami and various other locations throughout South Florida. 

The Biden Administration has discouraged migrants from entering the country illegally and has launched a U.S. sponsorship program that allows migrants from other countries to come to the United States legally. The president announced the sponsorship program on Thursday Jan. 5 and five days after the announcement on Tuesday Jan. 10, a group of 10 migrants were able to legally enter the United States. The program is set to allow thousands of migrants from numerous countries, including Cuba and Haiti, to enter the U.S. 

“I think the program is a good start, as it allows families to sponsor each other and reunite. My family itself has been speaking about sponsoring our other family members so they too can have a chance at a better life,” Tharry-Ann Metayer, a sophomore political science major, legal communications minor, from Brockton, Massachusetts, said. 

Tharry-Anne was born and raised in Haiti until she was eight years old when her family moved to Florida following an earthquake that had impacted the country two years prior. 

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“My mom wanted us to have a chance at higher education and better conditions. I believe that Americans can be insensitive at times when an issue does not directly affect their livelihoods. These people are fleeing from political instability and other humanitarian issues, but DeSantis does not have the heart to call them refugees. My mom wanted us to have a chance at higher education and better conditions,” Thirty-Ann said.

Copy edited by Nhandi Long-Shipman

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