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Gov. DeSantis files petition with FL Supreme Court requesting statewide grand jury meeting over immigration

The governor also signed SB 1808, which requires each law enforcement agency operating a county detention facility to help with immigration enforcement.

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday in Pensacola steps the state is taking in an effort to cut down on the number of people living in the state illegally.

At a news conference at the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, DeSantis announced a petition filed with the Florida Supreme Court requesting an order to impanel a statewide grand jury "to examine international human smuggling networks that bring illegal aliens across the southern border and ultimately to states like Florida."

The grand jury would examine the impacts of human smuggling operations in Florida.

"As governor, it's my responsibility to protect the people of Florida, that's why we're requesting this special grand jury, and it will make a difference for our state," DeSantis explains.

According to the governor, the grand jury will investigate the following:

  • Individuals and organizations working with foreign nations, drug cartels or coyotes to bring children across borders illegally and take them into Florida
  • The methods that human smugglers are using to bring unaccompanied minors across the southern border
  • Any other criminal activities linked to human smuggling
  • Local governments violating Florida law against sanctuary jurisdiction

"This is just wrong what they're doing, and we're going to go after it," DeSantis said.

DeSantis, who labeled President Joe Biden's border policies as a "failure," also spoke of a strike force formed of state and local law enforcement.

This team will operate against "illegal drug smuggling, human trafficking and illegals illegally carrying firearms," according to the governor.

Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and sheriff's offices across the Sunshine State are working together on the strike force. DeSantis says they have already arrested seven people for human smuggling and drug possession so far.

The governor closed out the news conference with the signing of SB 1808, which ultimately requires each law enforcement agency that operates a county detention facility to enter into an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by Jan. 1, 2023.

The bill also prohibits law enforcement agencies from "providing to any state entity information on the immigration status of a person in the custody of the law enforcement agency."

The major part of the bill DeSantis focused on was state and local governmental entities not being allowed to contract common carriers and contract carriers to transport a person living in the country illegally into Florida.

“Illegal aliens are being smuggled across the border in record numbers, which the reckless policies of the Biden administration facilitate,” Gov. DeSantis said in a statement. “Today, Florida has taken additional action to protect our state from the effects of what is a full-fledged border crisis.”

Watch the full news conference below.

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