Florida Grand Jury Targets Child Smugglers, Puts Miami in a Vise
Since U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and his Justice Department aren’t interested in prosecuting violations of immigration law, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking the rare step of empaneling a statewide grand jury to target residents who employ human smugglers, as well as local officials who look the other way.
With a go-ahead from the state Supreme Court, DeSantis’ grand jury is authorized to investigate and indict:
- Parents, guardians or other family members of unaccompanied alien children (UACs) who have conspired to smuggle, and thus endanger, minors.
- Criminal organizations that traffic UACs or other illegal aliens to Florida.
- Local governments, such as Miami-Dade County, that refuse to honor federal detainer requests to take custody of criminal aliens.
“States may have only limited power to make the [Biden] administration control immigration, but the governor is using the authority he does have to force a change,” says Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States ruled that passing and enforcing laws that relate to the conditions under which aliens can come to, remain in, and work in the U.S. is an exclusively federal area of authority. However, there is nothing in the Constitution, or relevant legal precedent, which says just because a criminal offense may be connected to immigration it cannot be prosecuted under state law.
Matthew O’Brien, director of investigations for FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, notes, “Many crimes like human trafficking, selling sexual acts and forging government documents are offenses under state law, without reference to any federal statutes of any kind. And in many cases, aliens can be prosecuted under both state and federal law for the same criminal act under what is called the ‘dual sovereignty exception to double jeopardy.’”
This is a pretty big deal for Florida, as more Cuban minors are showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents, some of whom may already be in the Sunshine State. Earlier this year, Florida’s Department of Children and Families announced plans to prohibit issuance or renewal of licenses for facilities that house UACs.
“While the anti-borders lobby will claim that DeSantis is abusing state authority, this is most emphatically not the case,” O’Brien concluded. Even Democrat-controlled New York, which issues driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, still exercises its state powers to prosecute migrants for using fake green cards.
All the while, the alphabet agencies in Washington sit on their hands and watch this nation’s borders collapse.