DeSantis Says He's Open to Send State Guard to Defend Southern Border

DeSantis Says He's Open to Send State Guard to Defend Southern Border

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
January 26, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Florida takes a step toward further intervening in the Texas border crisis with a new bill expanding Governor DeSantis' control of the State Guard. The State Guard is under the Governor's final and ultimate authority, and HB 1551 would allow him to deploy his guard nationwide.

“We've got FHP Fish and Wildlife, we've had Guard," DeSantis said in a press conference, discussing assistance sent to Texas. "We may do more National Guard, but we also would be willing to do the Florida State Guard, and the reason why you would want to do the State Guard is because the President would not be able to federalize the State Guard."

"That's the reason why we did the State Guard,” DeSantis added.

The State Guard under current statute operates solely within Florida. It was created during World War II to replace the National Guard abroad in Europe. It was disbanded in 1947, though DeSantis revived the organization in 2022. Its membership in 2023 was expanded from 400 to 1,500, and its funding increased from $10 million to $107.6 million.

Now, HB 1551 would allow the Guard to function outside of Florida, and be utilized anytime "deemed necessary" by the Governor.

While the National Guard is under the ultimate purview of the President, DeSantis is the supreme authority of the State Guard. If HB 1551 passes, it would be able to function outside of Florida without presidential oversight, concerning Democrats about tax costs and expansion of authority.

Rep. Dan Daley told the Floridian that the gradual expansion of State Guard powers has been a "year-by-year" creep, stating, "We've paid for watercraft and aircraft and helicopters. Now you're giving them the ability to activate them for periods of 'civil unrest', I don't know what that means,"

"There's a lot of things I don't feel comfortable with as we continue to creep in that direction, and one of those things is the ability to send them to the Texas border," He continued.

"I've always kind of taken an issue with us sending National Guardsmen to the Texas border, and Florida Highway Patrol to the Texas border, and our tax dollars going to Texas. I just think it's more of a political stunt than anything. We're having trouble keeping our Guardsmen, and we're activating them again and again for things that help the Governor politically and I just don't agree with that,"

"How about the Texas State Guard go to the Texas Border? That's a great idea," He concluded.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has deployed the Texas National Guard to secure the Southern border and arrest illegal immigrants attempting to cross. The Supreme Court ruled this week, however, that federal agents may cut down razor wire set up by Texas along the border. In response, the State posted a photo of it strengthening border protections, leading to Democrats calling for Biden to step in and take control of Texas' National Guard for "defying a Supreme Court ruling".

HB 1551 passed House Committee on Thursday.



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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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