TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis is again mobilizing National Guard troops and state troopers and sending them to the Texas-Mexico border.

What You Need To Know

  •  Gov. Ron DeSantis is mobilizing military and police to the southern border

  •  Gov. DeSantis says the Florida State Guard will mobilize at a later date

  • Florida Democrats call the move a political stunt

This latest wave of deployments includes 76 state troopers and 50 members of the National Guard. DeSantis said they will support Operation Lone Star, a state-operated border security mission Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott launched in 2021.

“This is part of a years-long effort for us to help do what the federal government has refused to do, which is to actually defend this country’s border,” DeSantis said Friday in Pensacola. 

In February, DeSantis suggested Florida may help reinforce the border. He listed at least two mission goals: building barricades and laying down border wire. 

“We wanna be a part of that,” DeSantis said Friday. “We think this is an American issue, partially because we should have a secure country, and partially, the effects of this border invasion go to all 50 states.” 

Florida’s border presence comes as migrant encounters reach record highs. According to Border Patrol, officials logged roughly 250,000 encounters in December. 

Florida Democrats, meanwhile, sum up the mission as a wasteful political stunt. They say the deployment is more about DeSantis’ presidential ambitions than it is about Floridians. 

“There’s so much to focus on here at home,” said House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, who listed issues such as property insurance and rising rents. “We don’t need a governor who is continuing to focus on his own ambitions and just leaving Floridians behind.” 

Driskell, the top-ranking House Democrat in Florida, rebuked the state border missions at large. Border security, she says, is a job left best to the federal government. 

“It’s really inserting their noses into federal business,” Driskell said of governors mobilizing troops to the border. “Instead, we should try to be good partners with the federal government."

This month, DeSantis offered Texas upward of 1,000 troops. A veteran himself, DeSantis on Friday said the Florida State Guard will soon mobilize to the southern border as well. The Florida State Guard is a World War II paramilitary force DeSantis resurrected in 2021 after decades of dormancy.