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DeSantis Declares State of Emergency in FL Over Border Crisis, National Guard to Be Used

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed an executive order on Friday declaring a state of emergency over the ongoing crisis at the southern border and the number of illegal landings by boat on Florida land.


In the order, which was obtained by Townhall, DeSantis says the Biden administration has failed to stop the high volume of illegal crossings at the nation's borders and so more Florida resources are going to be utilized to address the problem.

WHEREAS, in recent months, the numbers of individuals attempting to come to the United States and unauthorized alien interdictions in and around Florida have risen to alarming levels not seen for decades...WHEREAS, from August 2022 to the present, federal, state, and local officials have  interdicted approximately 8,042 migrants in Florida's territorial waters alone; and WHEREAS, approximately 300 unauthorized aliens unlawfully entered the Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys on January 1, 2023; and WHEREAS, reports indicate an additional 45 unauthorized aliens unlawfully entered Key West on the evening of January 5, 2023.

WHEREAS, such a mass migration of unauthorized aliens, including the associated abandonment of vessels, without appropriate support from the federal government, has created an unmanageable strain on local resources and will continue to overburden the capabilities of local governments throughout the state.

"Because of the foregoing conditions, I hereby find that the migration of unauthorized aliens to the State of Florida is likely to constitute a major disaster. I therefore declare that a state of emergency exists in the State of Florida," DeSantis states.

Steps to be taken by Florida include:

  • Designate the Director of the Division of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency and direct him to execute the State's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and other response, recovery, and mitigation plans.
  • Invoke and administer the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and other compacts and agreements 

    existing between the State of Florida and other states, and the further authority to coordinate the allocation of resources from such other states that are made available to Florida under such compacts.

  • Direct all state, regional, and local governmental agencies, including law enforcement agencies, to identify personnel needed from those agencies to assist in meeting the response, recovery, and mitigation needs created by this emergency, and to place all such personnel under the direct command and coordination of the State Coordinating Officer to meet this emergency. 

  •  "I order the Adjutant General to activate the Florida National Guard, as needed, to deal with this emergency."

  • Medical professionals and workers, social workers, and counselors with good and valid professional licenses issued by states other than the State of Florida may render such services in Florida during this emergency for persons affected by this emergency with the condition that such services be rendered to such persons free of charge, and with the further condition that such services be rendered under the auspices of the American Red Cross or the Florida Department of Health.


Florida will deploy air assets, including airplanes and helicopters from the Florida National Guard, and will bolster Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission marine patrol to support water interdictions and ensure the safety of migrants attempting to reach Florida through the Florida Straits.

The executive order takes effect immediately and lasts for 60 days. 

"As the negative impacts of Biden’s lawless immigration policies continue unabated, the burden of the Biden administration’s failure falls on local law enforcement who lack the resources to deal with the crisis," DeSantis said in a statement. "That is why I am activating the National Guard and directing state resources to help alleviate the strain on local resources. When Biden continues to ignore his legal responsibilities, we will step in to support our communities."

Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R), whose state is one of the hardest hit areas due to the border crisis, officially declared the influx of illegal crossings are an invasion and doubled down on state resources going towards Operation Lone Star, which utilizes state troopers and the Texas National Guard to deter illegal crossings and apprehend those who manage to avoid Border Patrol.

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