Bernard and Bradshaw said the influx is a public safety problem and will put pressure on resources.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said members of Congress who represent areas of Palm Beach and Broward counties have been kept in the dark about the proposal. The agency's Miami sector includes all of South Florida. The federal government's plan to send border families to South Florida will unnecessarily stress local communities and tax resources. "They're not telling us anything about their health, about their criminal/non-criminal background. We don't know where they are from, what are they bringing". Local officials said the plan involves releasing about 1,000 migrants a month, split between the counties.
A big question hanging over the two-county plan is why a third South Florida county - neighboring Miami-Dade, just south of Broward - wasn't included as well. DeSantis, who supported the bill, said, "We are a stronger state when we protect our residents, foster safe communities and respect the work of law enforcement at every level". Were these two counties chosen in connection with President Trump's idea that sanctuary cities could be called upon to accept illegal migrants? That left state leaders scrambling for information.
"This is irresponsible policy", Bogen said in a news release. "We have to weeks to try and help these people".
CBS4's Jim DeFede spoke to Bogen on Thursday. "The composition, according to what we were told, is supposed to be family units", Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said in his own press conference Thursday. Neither has sanctuary status limiting cooperation with immigration authorities - a status that would in fact be outlawed under a measure recently advanced by the state legislature.
They will be moved from the El Paso area, a destination for a large number of illegal migrants in recent months, especially since the organized caravans began making their way from Central America to the United States. They can process them and then release the migrants with instructions to obey a notice to appear. "Our diverse community treats immigrants with dignity and respect; the Administration should do the same", the congressman said in a statement.
"We have a mass migration plan, but a mass migration plan is created to handle something like the Mariel boatlift where people come here exigently with circumstances, and we take them into custody and turn them over to Border Patrol", said Palm Beach Sheriff Bradshaw. "Although our commission has not had the chance to address this issue, in my opinion, the people that we can't find shelter for and will become homeless, I would suggest, that we bring them to the Trump hotels and ask the president to open his heart and home as well".
Democratic Florida Congressman Ted Deutch said he was unable to get federal officials to clarify the Florida plans. He urged the Customs and Border Protection agency to brief Congress on the situation and what help the federal government would provide.
The migrants will be equally divided between Palm Beach and Broward Counties, Bogen said.
In April alone, the Border Patrol apprehended almost 99,000 people for crossing illegally, with more than two-thirds being unaccompanied children and adults traveling with children. Marco Rubio tweeted, saying he had heard about the plan from the Palm Beach sheriff that as many as 500 migrants a month would be released in Broward and Palm Beach, pending their asylum hearings.
Administrators in Broward and Palm Beach planned to have a strategy session Thursday. We're meeting with Palm Beach County right now, to see if there's regional work we can do too.
DeSantis said local and state resources would be strained as a result of the federal government "dumping unlawful migrants into our state".
María Rodriguez, executive director of Florida Immigration Coalition, said the group has been told of the relocation and is trying to come up with a plan.