Florida GOP chair ‘not supportive’ of Trump migrant plan


This post is by Matt Dixon from Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories


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TALLAHASSEE — Florida GOP Chairman Joe Gruters says he does not support the Trump administration’s decision to send up to 1,000 migrants a month to Florida counties, marking another steadfast Trump ally who opposes the move.

Gruters, who is also a state senator form Sarasota, told POLITICO Florida via text that “We are not supportive of the decision,” which Trump announced Thursday.

Officials in Democratic-leaning Broward and Palm Beach Counties on Thursday announced the federal officials informed them that up to 500 undocumented immigrants a month could be sent to the counties starting next month.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Broward County officials detailed Trump’s plan to potentially send hundreds of migrants from the southern U.S. border to Florida. Trump on Thursday delivered a Rose Garden address about his latest immigration plans, renewing his call to build a wall along the border with Mexico and saying he wants prioritize highly skilled and well-educated immigrants.

On Friday, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder, a former Republican member of the Florida Legislature, also said an official from U.S. Customs and Border Protection reached out to him because undocumented immigrants sent to those counties could end up in neighboring Martin County in significant numbers.

“They said that in an abundance of caution, we are letting you know that several hundred migrants recently apprehended from the southern border are being sent to your area,” he told POLITICO on Friday.

Snyder said he was told the undocumented immigrants would be coming to the region through the Palm Beach County International Airport and may end up in the city of Indiantown because many have family ties to that area.

The Thursday announcement came with expected backlash from Democrats and also left some of Trump’s staunchest political allies flat-footed and concerned. Gov. Ron DeSantis, who Trump endorsed and staunchly supported in the GOP primary in 2018, said his administration was not informed of the decision, and now Gruters is echoing that sentiment.

Along with being chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Gruters when he was chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota, named Trump “Statesman of the Year” twice.

“I agree with Governor DeSantis and say this is not something the state has resources to handle, we were not aware this was planned,” he told POLITICO. “Still looking into details but we are not supportive of the decision.”

Rubio sent a letter Thursday to acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan asking several questions about the proposal to send up to 1,000 migrants a month to Florida.

Among his questions were how the department intends to transport the migrants, why the decision was made, how many cities and counties in Florida will be affected and how those locations were chosen.

“Please respond to the following questions prior to authorizing or scheduling any such movements,” Rubio said.

Snyder, a Republican who did not endorse in the 2016 presidential race but attended Trump’s inaugural celebration, said he has some safety concerns.

“One of the primary attributes of civilized society is we tend to know each other, know who lives in our community,” he said. “We have an unspecified and unknowable number of people whose journey in American began with illegal border crossing, that could present some law enforcement challenges.”

Snyder also pointed some of his criticism to federal lawmakers.

“This whole conundrum is because of Washington and so far as the federal legislators have been completely dysfunctional and have left us in America very vulnerable to this kind of illogical and unsafe immigration methodology,” he said. “It is Congress. They haven not served us well. They should be ashamed of themselves.“

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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