With buzz building that he could make another run for statewide office, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., raised his profile on security issues this week.
On Thursday, from his perch as the chairman of the U.S. House National Security Subcommittee, DeSantis made the case that building a wall on the border with Mexico would increase national security.
“A core attribute of sovereignty is maintaining control over national boundaries, yet for years we have witnessed the failure of the U.S. government to secure our southern border,” DeSantis said in his opening statement on Thursday in a hearing on the matter. “This failure has allowed millions of foreign nationals to enter the United States illegally and has allowed huge amounts of illicit narcotics to be smuggled into the country. This sorry state of affairs has had significant consequences for American taxpayers, for victims of violent crime, and for the rule of law. It is time to secure the border.”
DeSantis praised President Donald Trump for his efforts to stem illegal immigration.
“A central issue of the president's 2016 campaign was the promise to build ‘an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall.’ The Administration is taking steps to fulfill that promise, and the Subcommittee on National Security is closely monitoring this process,” DeSantis said. “The president issued an executive order on January 25th for the Department of Homeland Security to ‘take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border.’”
DeSantis also cheered Trump for noting how a security fence built by the Israeli government helped improve that nation’s security.
“Border walls have seen success in recent years,” DeSantis said. “President Trump has identified Israeli border security measures as a potential model for securing the U.S.-Mexico border. The construction of a security fence on the Israel-Sinai border cut illegal entries from over 16,500 in 2011 to just 43 in 2013 and 12 in 2014 - a 99 percent decrease. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remarked that ‘President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel's southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration, great success, great idea.’ Now do those who oppose building a wall dispute that success? Or is the reason they oppose building a wall precisely because they acknowledge its potential effectiveness at curbing illegal immigration? Think we have to figure that out.”
DeSantis dismissed Democrats’ concerns about the costs of the wall, insisting it can be built at a reasonable price and noting there were more important matters to focus on.
“The wall should be built in a fiscally responsible way and there are a variety of creative ways, such as by using the seized assets of drug dealers, to build it at little or no cost to the American taxpayer,” DeSantis said. “At the same time, what is rarely discussed but which needs serious inquiry is whether securing the border will have a positive effect on American taxpayers at the local, state and federal levels. Of course, securing the border is about more than dollars and cents -- it is also about our government's duty to secure its borders, defend our sovereignty, and most importantly protect our citizens. Illegal immigration has had significant human costs. Too many Americans have been robbed of loved ones through crimes committed by criminal aliens who should not have been allowed into this country to begin with. One of them is Ms. Agnes Gibboney who lost her son, Ronald da Silva, fifteen years ago today. Ronald was murdered by a previously deported illegal immigrant with a long criminal record. And she herself is a legal immigrant from Hungary. She did it the right way and her son was taken from her by someone who had no right to be in our country. What makes this tragedy and others like it so painful is that Ronald's murder was preventable - had the government simply done its job and maintained a secure border, the murderer would never been able to enter our country and Ronald would still be with us.
“Building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border will not stop all illegal immigration, but it is a necessary first step and, consistent with the experiences in the San Diego and Yuma, has the potential to dramatically reduce it,” DeSantis said. “The United States also will need to deploy additional human, technological, and legal resources. In addition, predictable enforcement of immigration laws in the interior of the United States will restore the rule of law and deter would-be illegal immigrants from attempting to circumvent laws in the first place.”
Also on Thursday, DeSantis teamed up with U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, to announce the creation of the Israel Victory Caucus which :will serve to both educate Congress on the shared challenges faced by the United States and Israel and to advance legislation that supports peace in Israel."
"With the repairing of the United States-Israel relationship under the Trump administration, we have a tremendous opportunity to build on our close friendship by furthering military and economic ties,” DeSantis said. “Recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state is a condition precedent to achieving Middle East peace. The United States needs to be very clear that Israel is here to stay and those who seek Israel’s destruction will earn the enmity of the United States.”
Sunshine State News reached out to DeSantis’ office on Thursday and was informed that, for the moment, only the two founders’ names have been released but they will unveil other members in the future.
First elected to Congress in 2012, DeSantis has garnered attention as a possible candidate for statewide office in the future. A graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, DeSantis served as in the Navy JAG Corps. DeSantis waged a brief campaign for the Republican nomination to replace U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., last year. When Rubio decided at the last moment to run for a second term in the Senate, DeSantis dropped out of the race and ran for a third term in the House. DeSantis, who currently chairs the House National Security Subcommittee, is generating buzz as a potential candidate for state office in 2018, being urged by the conservative Madison Project, which backed his Senate bid, to run for governor. He’s also considered a possible candidate in next year’s state attorney general’s race.