How Florida, Texas Are Imposing Tougher Measures to Detain and Exile Immigrants

Floating barriers in the Rio Grande in Texas and the shipment of homeless Latinos to Puerto Rico are some of the measures being taken in the US to impede the movement of immigrants

Soldiers deploy razor wire at the US-Mexico border in Texas. Photo: Twitter Greg Abbot
June 14, 2023 | 07:42 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — The race to stop the entry of immigrants into US states such as Florida or Texas is speeding up, and not with the best strategies.

In recent days, Texas announced a project to place a barrier of floating buoys to stem the flow of immigrants across the Rio Grande from Mexico, in addition to the installation of razor wire, with Texas Governor Gregg Abbott announcing the strategy in a tweet, and which he used to criticize the apparent inaction on the issue by US President Joe Biden.

The cost of the installation of the buoys and wire in Eagle Pass cost $1 million, while the state’s budget assigned for border control is up to $100 million.

Such measures have increased following Biden’s decision to not build a border wall, as proposed, and initiated, by former president Donald Trump.

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Backing from Florida’s DeSantis

Fellow Republican Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has supported Abbott’s anti-immigrant campaign, and said his state has helped Texas with the arrest of more than 190 people on charges of arms possession and drug trafficking.

And following the illegal flights organized by Florida to ship immigrants to other parts of the country, such as Martha’s Vineyard and California, DeSantis continues to up his anti-immigrant actions and rhetoric.

According to The Hill, a group of Latinos has united to launch a caravan across the US to protest the anti-immigrant measures imposed by Florida, and which include five-year prison terms or fines of $5,000 for thos who transport people who entered the country illegally.


The caravan, named “Todos somos Florida” (’We Are All Florida’), will depart from San Diego, California on June 23 and travel from west to east, passing through Los Angeles, San Antonio, El Paso, New Orleans and Houston.

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Island exile

Another phenomenon related to this anti-immigration wave is one that has been documented by Puerto Rican media outlet Primera Hora, which reported that, in April, the arrival of homeless people from cities in the United States began to be seen on the island, although no one has yet been blamed for this action.

Such immigrants arrived in Puerto Rico with the promise that they would be helped to obtain housing, food and their daily needs. The immigrants reportedly asked for help at the non-profit organization La Fondita de Jesús.

“In a little more than eight weeks the number of homeless people from the US that have arrived at the non-profit organization, located in Santurce, is 20. Ninety percent are male, although two women have been received,” Primera Hora reported.


Likewise, 85% of those forcibly exiled have mental health problems such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression, among others; and 65% have substance use or alcohol abuse problems, according to the report.

In the absence of a safe shelter, the report states that such homeless people can be seen wandering “and have created a type of community among themselves” in places frequented by tourists in the capital, such as Old San Juan, the Tercer Milenio park or in Condado.

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