DeSantis to visit Southern border in Arizona after orchestrating migrant relocation flights to California

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responds to a protester during a campaign event, Friday, June 2, 2023, in Lexington, South Carolina.
Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responds to a protester during a campaign event, Friday, June 2, 2023, in Lexington, South Carolina.Artie Walker Jr./AP Photo
  • Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis is headed to the southern border on Wednesday.

  • He'll be hosting a roundtable on law enforcement, according to a release from his office.

  • The DeSantis administration sent two flights of migrants from Texas to California.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is headed to the US-Mexico border for the first time as a 2024 presidential candidate.

The trip comes in the wake of the DeSantis administration acknowledging it orchestrated two planes carrying migrants from El Paso, Texas, to Sacramento, California.

DeSantis has yet to speak publicly about the flights, though he appears ready to do so on Wednesday. He'll be doing a roundtable with law enforcement in Sierra Vista, Arizona, per a press release from his office.

The event will occur close to the time former Vice President Mike Pence will announce at a rally in Iowa that he, too, is joining the 2024 contest.

The immigration policy rollout is consistent with how DeSantis operated as governor. He'll frequently put shocking developments into motion and then hold scripted announcements that trigger the left while drawing amusement and cheers from the right.

Often, he'll hold TV studio-style roundtables with allies, where he will take on the role of interviewer. He held similar events when calling for harsher anti-defamation laws and when he fanned the flames of COVID vaccine skepticism.

DeSantis is the second candidate running for the GOP nomination heading to the southern border. Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, also running for the nomination, was the first to take a trip to the southern border in Texas in May.

Hard-line positions on illegal immigration tend to be popular with the GOP base, particularly after the Trump administration's anti-immigration rhetoric and actions. But even Democratic mayors, including in New York City, have complained that their resources are strained by the influx of migrants who've arrived in their cities.

DeSantis promised on the campaign trail that if elected president, he would resume building a border wall between the US and Mexico and re-institute the "remain in Mexico" policy, which requires migrants to wait across the border until their asylum cases can be heard.

As governor, DeSantis expanded restrictions on undocumented workers in Florida, which, as Insider previously reported, led to some undocumented people leaving the state to be able to continue their employment.

Florida also sent more than 1,100 members of its national guard to Texas. According to a release from the governor's office, they have assisted with more than 190 arrests, including felony charges for human smuggling and unlawful weapons possession.

The Trump campaign sent an email to reporters on Wednesday pointing to a poll from Morning Consult that showed more voters trusted Trump on the issue of immigration than trusted DeSantis. "Ron DeSantis knows Trump's border policies worked," read the title of the email, emphasizing the border wall as Trump's brainchild.

DeSantis in September admitted that his administration orchestrated another plane carrying 49 migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. He brags about it frequently on the 2024 campaign trail and may also talk about it during Wednesday's roundtable.

But legal trouble could be ahead for the governor or members of his administration. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California and the state's attorney general, Rob Bonta, have floated the idea of pressing "kidnapping charges" against DeSantis by invoking a section of the criminal code that penalizes people who forcibly bring people into "the limits of the state."

DeSantis is scheduled to go to Sacramento for a fundraiser on June 19, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Read the original article on Business Insider