Monroe County, Florida Sheriff Rick Ramsay hit back at White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for accusing Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., of performing a “political stunt” with the refugee crisis wreaking havoc on Florida’s coastline and claiming DeSantis is “creating” the problem instead of working to solve it.
“We’ve seen Gov. DeSantis do political stunts. That’s how he proceeds to fix this issue in Florida,” Jean Pierre said during a White House press briefing last Thursday.
“He is not dealing with the problem, he is creating a problem,” she added.
“I think the political stunts are probably coming from Washington, D.C.,” Ramsay hit back Tuesday on “Fox & Friends First.”
Ramsay told Fox News’ Carley Shimkus that the federal government has a habit of deflecting and “pass[ing]” the problem on to someone else.
“The reality is our governor in the state of Florida is not creating problems, he’s trying to prevent a problem. He’s trying to mitigate what’s occurring,” he said. “We’re sending a strong message to the migrants who are trying to come here that this is not a time to come and that we have more land, sea, air assets and that, if you get caught here, you’re going to get sent back.”
Ramsay said DeSantis is being forced to take action because of the failures from Washington, D.C.
He also said he is “proud” of the job DeSantis has done to mitigate the crisis, praising him as a “good partner” for providing abundant resources, including boots on the ground in coastal communities struggling with the migrant influx.
Ramsay said the Florida Air National Guard is patrolling the waters to spot any incoming boats before they make landfall, but the “mass migration” continues to swamp Florida’s coastline, leaving homeowners and officials struggling to keep pace.
“We’re experiencing a mass migration. We’re seeing daily loads of migrants coming to the shore, mostly from Cuba but some from Haiti,” Ramsay told Shimkus.
“It’s personally been impacting my manpower allocation, my ability to respond to calls for service, but we have called on the government to step up, to do more to secure this border and be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” he added.
Ramsay also slammed open border policies for allegedly inviting in larger quantities of migrants, saying, “We’re sending a message that the border is open, we are saying ‘come on in,’ and you can stay,” adding that the message needs to change before the crisis gets worse.
“We’ve got to make sure that we telegraph that appropriate message now that the border is supposedly not open anymore, that you cannot stay, [and] that you will be sent back.”
Data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows a surge in migrant encounters in the Miami sector, amassing 10,370 year-to-date encounters and 27,433 encounters total for 2022.