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Trump administration to send thousands of migrants to Florida counties

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Florida officials are baffled and outraged by an apparent plan by the Trump administration to move thousands of migrants from the border to Florida in the coming months — with no plan for how to feed, shelter, and care for them.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff, Ric Bradshaw, announced at a press conference Thursday that he had learned the Customs and Border Protection agency would soon bring 1,000 migrants per month to Palm Beach and Broward counties, where they would be processed and released into the communities.

“It’s not a good plan,” Bradshaw said. “We think it’s a danger to this community, and it’s going to put a real strain on what the resources are.”

Florida officials don’t have any details on the plan yet

Bradshaw said he hasn’t received any answers from the government on what types of families the counties will receive, what medical care the migrants might need, how they will be transported from the processing facility, or where they will live and how they will eat.

Read more: The number of migrants apprehended at the US-Mexico border just keeps going up

Both Democrats and Republicans in Florida have reacted with confusion and anger at the notion, saying they have no idea why Broward and Palm Beach counties were chosen as the location, and have received no formal plan from the government on how to handle the influx.

CBP officials did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for details on the plan.

The plan comes amid a surge of Central American families crossing the US-Mexico border to seek asylum, overwhelming Border Patrol agents and raising questions over how best to allocate resources. Last month, CBP logged more than 109,000 border apprehensions— a 12-year high for the agency.

Trump previously said he would release migrants into ‘sanctuary cities’ to ‘punish’ Democrats

Sen. Marco Rubio posed nine questions about the plan to the acting homeland security secretary, Kevin McAleenan, in a letter on Thursday. The Florida Republican asked whether it was true that migrants would be brought to the state — and if so, why, when, and for how long.

The news comes just one month after President Donald Trump confirmed that he was strongly considering having immigration officials release migrants from detention centers into so-called sanctuary cities as a way to punish Democrats.

But neither Broward County nor Palm Beach County identify as “sanctuary cities,” though they are both predominantly Democratic counties, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Sanctuary cities generally have policies to limit the ways police and jails can cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

Even Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat and frequent Trump critic who represents both counties, said there was too much confusion surrounding the proposal to immediately determine whether it was intended to punish his district.

“While I’m compelled to point to the President’s mean-spirited, ongoing effort to demonize immigrants and divide our country rather than seriously addressing this issue, I hesitate saying more about these reports because no one in the Administration seems to know what is happening,” he said in a statement to INSIDER.

Democrats think it’s a ‘purely political’ move

US Customs and Border Protection agent questions a migrant about a boy he is traveling with, May 16, 2019, in El Paso, Texas.
AFP/Paul Ratje via Getty Images

Read more: Aerial photos show migrants sleeping on the ground in makeshift tent encampment at a Texas Border Patrol station

Other state officials have told local media outlets they believe the plan is a political stunt.

“I believe it’s purely political,” state Democratic Rep. Shevrin Jones told the News Service of Florida. “The president has made it clear that he is targeting Democratic stronghold areas, and Broward fits that criteria.”

Palm Beach County’s Democratic mayor, Mack Bernard, told reporters Thursday that the county would do “everything in our power” to care for the migrants. But he added that it would be a “humongous” strain on the county’s resources.

“To be honest with you, this is not something that was planned, and we want better from our government,” he said.

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