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Sen. Scott says Biden adminstration needs tougher immigration enforcement

Sen. Scott says Biden adminstration needs tougher immigration enforcement
Sen. Scott says Biden adminstration needs tougher immigration enforcement 03:41

MARATHON - US Senator Rick Scott was joined by Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay during a trip to the Florida Keys on Thursday where both men agreed that a stronger plan of action was needed to curb the surge of migrants coming from Cuba and Haiti.

Scott's office shared photos with CBS4 of his trip on board a boat where he received a briefing from the Coast Guard and Customs and Border protection and told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "We went out on the boat and saw rafts that had been used. One was made out of tarp."

Both expressed their gratitude that there are more resources being used by agencies like the Coast Guard and US Border Patrol to help in the interception of the migrants.

There were several landings in the Keys over the January 1st holiday weekend involving hundreds of migrants. On January 6th, Gov. Ron Desantis activated the US National Guard to assist the front-line agencies.

However, Scott said the Biden administration needs to do more.

"The Biden administration, what they have to do is be clear they we going to enforce our immigration laws. We are going to enforce our asylum laws, we're going to secure our borders," he said.

Scott said, "The Biden Administration can't be held hostage by the Castro regime. We believe in legal immigration but if you don't you shouldn't be coming in to this country."

The senator said he feels the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

"What I know about Cuba is nothing is getting better. The numbers are staggering. About two percent of the population has left the country. Most are coming through the southern border and many, as you know, are coming through South Florida because they have friends and relatives here," said Scott.

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz took issue with Scott, telling CBS4 that his criticism was not fair.

She said, "President Biden inherited an absolutely chaotic mess with immigration when he became President. I am so thankful that we have a President who understands that we need to make sure that we have a legal pathway for immigrants ti be processed. That he's giving an opportunity for Nicaraguans, Cubans and Venezuelans to apply for patrols here in the U.S. and make sure they do it in a safe and orderly way.  What Rick Scott is doing today and I am not surprised he is doing this is going there to create more chaos and fan the flames of an already inflamed situation and what he is doing today is he is not doing anything."

"We want to send a message out to these third-world countries about the changes in the policy now which no longer allows you to come here and be released. People should realize if they come here they are going to be put in secure detention and sent back to their country. We want people to know that before they try to come here so they can make that decision whether the trip is worthwhile," said Ramsay.

Ramsay said, "We are trying to send a positive message that we care about the migrants coming in. It is documented that 65 of them lost their lives last year and maybe a lot more that we don't know if lost their lives. We have a humanitarian crisis."

Authorities say the Coast Guard has beefed up patrols and dozens of federal agents, FHP troopers and sheriffs deputies have been added to the current staffing. Ramsay said, "We also have fixed wing aircraft targetting where they make landfall."

In recent days, the number of migrants arriving in the Keys has dropped. But with continuing food shortages and economic problems, like soaring inflation, in Cuba, Scott sees no let up anytime soon in the number of migrants trying to make it to the US.

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