In a candid interview on Tuesday night, Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis reaffirmed his commitment to protecting America’s southern border, pledging to employ robust measures to curb cartel activities.
Speaking with CBS News host Norah O’Donnell on “CBS Evening News,” DeSantis doubled down on his earlier debate statement, promising to deploy the military to defend against cartel operatives attempting to breach the border wall.
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“We are going to lean in and we are going to defend our country,” he promised during the interview, recalling a troubling sight he witnessed in Arizona — engineers repairing sections of the border wall where cartels had sliced through the steel beams.
DeSantis made it clear that when cartel operatives are caught attempting to damage the border wall, the military will be authorized to use deadly force to prevent such actions. He stressed that protocols would be meticulously established to determine the rules of engagement.
He elaborated, “If there’s a woman with a baby, they’re not a cartel member, there’s not going to be authorization to just shoot somebody like that. But when somebody’s got a backpack on and they’re in there breaking through the wall, you know, that’s hostile intent, and you have every right to take action under those circumstances.”
DeSantis anticipates that implementing these measures will compel the cartels to rethink their tactics, potentially leading to a decrease in border breaches.
Addressing the specifics of military actions within Mexico to combat cartels, the presidential hopeful acknowledged that these strategies could be subject to debate and would require flexibility in asset deployment.
DeSantis acknowledged that the tactics employed by the military inside Mexico would require careful consideration and flexibility in deployment. He stressed that the cartels pose a significant threat by overrunning the border, engaging in trafficking and smuggling massive quantities of drugs into the country. In his view, the situation constitutes an invasion that demands a strong response.
Stressing the importance of action, the Florida governor made his position unequivocal, saying, “I’ll have the military at the border, 100%. If they’re trying to break through the wall, we will have deadly force authorized to stop that.”
DeSantis’ statement re-emphasizes the immigration plan he unveiled in June, as he promised to restrict border crossings, increase deportations, complete the border wall construction and bring back the “Remain in Mexico” policy so that asylum seekers can stay in Mexico through their asylum hearings.
“We have to establish the rule of law in this country. What you’re seeing right now is an abuse of asylum… It’s a lot less appetizing to make a trip like that knowing you don’t qualify in the first place and you’re gonna have to wait on the other side of the border before you get a decision,” he stated in his announcement at the time.