Florida Has Stopped Roughly 13,500 Possible Immigrants Via Boat over Last Year

David Goodhue/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty

Florida has stopped thousands of possible illegal immigrants attempting to enter the state via boat since January 2023, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

DeSantis recently signed three immigration-related bills in the Sunshine State — HB 1589, which focuses on penalties relate to driving without a valid driver’s license; HB 1451, which “prohibits counties & municipalities, respectively, from accepting certain ID cards or documents that are knowingly issued to individuals” who are here illegally; and SB 1036: which “enhances penalties for a crime committed by an individual who returned to the country illegally after deportation,” according to News4Jax.

This comes as Florida faces a potential wave of Haitian migrants attempting to flee as their country deteriorates under bloody gang violence. As a result, Florida beefed up its personnel in the southern portion of the state and the keys as part of Operation Vigilant Sentry.

Additional assets included 39 officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, 23 from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 48 additional Guardsmen from the Florida National Guard, and 30 officers from the Florida Highway Patrol.

DeSantis announced last week that Florida law enforcement recently intercepted a vessel carrying Haitians armed with guns, drugs, and night vision gear, stopping 25 potential immigrants from illegal entry to the state.

However, the figures with the bigger picture are even more stunning.

“In January of 2023, I did an executive order, declaring it to be a state of emergency and so we surged vessels to be able to assist the Coast Guard,” DeSantis said, explaining that those joint efforts have resulted in thousands of potential illegal immigrants from entering the state.

“Our efforts have led to the interdiction of 670 vessels, carrying over 13,500 illegal aliens,” the governor revealed.

Overall, DeSantis has deemed it a “very successful operation.”

“And so what we decided to do given the situation that’s happening in Haiti, some brutal reports that are happening, we want to make sure that we’re protecting Floridians and so we have authorized additional officers with the relevant agencies, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Fish and Wildlife we’ve also augmented the National Guard another 48 guardsmen, up to 133 soldiers from the Florida State Guard and 30 additional officers from Florida Highway Patrol for additional helicopters through the National Guard,” DeSantis said, explaining that they are trying to send the message that “the last thing you should want to do is get on some boat and think you’re going to come through for many of these islands to get to the state of Florida.”

“The most likely scenario is you will be stopped and you will be returned to your country of origin,” he warned.


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