DeSantis: Florida Continuing With Lawsuit Over Biden ICE Policy Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference at PortMiami on April 08, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 14 April 2021 09:35 AM
The state of Florida is moving forward with its legal action against the Biden administration over its policy that allows illegal immigrants who commit crimes to be released into the United States after they serve their prison sentences rather than sending them back to their home countries, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday.
"We had a great agreement with the Trump administration where if their term was up, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) would pick them up and remove them and bring them back to their home country," the Republican governor said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."
But under President Joe Biden, the administration is "refusing to do these requests, so when someone finishes a term, a criminal alien, ICD is allowing them to be released back into our community," said DeSantis. "We think it is reckless. It will absolutely put the American people in danger, and we are doing other things to work with local communities, doing the best they can to protect other people."
The federal lawsuit was filed last month by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, reports The Miami Herald, and says that the administration's actions "will allow criminal aliens to be released into and move freely in the state of Florida, and their resulting crime will cost the state millions of dollars on law enforcement, incarceration, and crime victim’s assistance. It will also cause unquantifiable harm to Florida’s citizenry and will force the state to expend its own law enforcement resources to pick up the slack."
The legal action focuses on memos that were issued on Jan. 20 and Feb. 18 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about immigration enforcement.
DeSantis on Wednesday also discussed the halt placed on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration called for a pause for the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots after six women were affected.
"We had no indication this was coming," said DeSantis. "We had success with Johnson & Johnson."
However, he said the pause will not mark a "major interruption" in his state's vaccination campaign, but there is a huge demand for the one-dose vaccine.
Meanwhile, Florida has had "more success" in following advice from some doctors who have gone against some of the narratives about COVID-19, said DeSantis, speaking out against big tech companies like YouTube that have pulled down videos that show different viewpoints.
"The narrative is a lockdown, mask a 2-year-old kid, and all these different things we kept hearing, and when people counteract that their instinct is to pull it down," said DeSantis. "It is very troubling because that is not what science is about. It is about asking questions, raising concerns, and getting to the right answer.
"A year ago there were people offering strong critiques of lockdowns at the beginning and that was across all the tech platforms, but you look and some of these experts would agree lockdowns caused immense damage in many states," said the governor. "The most important debates our society ever had and they suffocated it at the outset … in Florida, we have schools that have no masks, private schools."
The governor also continued his opposition to a "60 Minutes" report that painted his efforts on vaccination in a bad light, continuing to call it biased after his responses to a reporter were heavily edited.
The show on Sunday aired viewer responses to the piece, but DeSantis said that did not constitute an apology over the program's coverage.
"They issued a lot of mealy-mouthed statements since the episode aired," said DeSantis. "They knew what they were putting on the air was false and that is the problem they have, they talked to the people, refused to put people on the air who were explaining what happened, edited the explanation out," he said. "They have so much contempt for viewers … they had a political mission to smear me."