tags: Press Releases

Ron DeSantis Endorses Deadly Violence at the Border

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Escalating Rhetoric will lead to Escalating Violence

Washington, DC – In his relentless effort to define himself as an anti-immigrant hardliner for GOP primary audiences, Ron DeSantis hasn’t concerned himself with the consequences of his nativist words and policies. This includes the ongoing costs and harms from his signature state anti-immigrant bill in Florida as well as the dangerous ideas he has been touting from the campaign trail – note that his stump speech calls for deadly violence at the border, which has been a disturbing applause line.

Yet in an NBC News interview that aired Monday, Gov. DeSantis’ went even further in his endorsement of deadly violence at the border. As The Guardian recapped, Gov. DeSantis stated the following:

  • “If cartels are trying to run products into this country, they’re going to end up stone-cold dead.” 
  • When asked by interviewer Dasha Burns, “How do you know you’re using deadly force against the right people?” Gov. DeSantis noted, “Same way a police officer would know. Same way somebody operating in Iraq would know. You know, these people in Iraq at the time, they all looked the same. You didn’t know who had a bomb strapped to them. So those guys have to make judgments.”
  • He also stated, “I think these cartels are basically foreign terrorist organizations. They are responsible for killing more Americans on an annual basis than any other group or country throughout the entire world. And yet, this is just happening, and it’s happening in communities all across the United States … So if you see that happening, and they’ve got the satchel of fentanyl strapped to their back, you use deadly force against them, you lay them out, you will see a change of behavior. You have to take the fight to the cartels; otherwise we’re going to continue to see Americans dying.”

The following is a statement from Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“The latest comments from Ron DeSantis are chilling. He’s campaigning on explicit calls for deadly violence and opening the door for vigilantism directed at people along the border based on the color of their skin or the accent they speak with. He has made this call for deadly violence an applause line in his stump speech, a disturbing development that must not be ignored.  

Immigrant families desperately seeking freedom and a better life aren’t smuggling fentanyl through the harsh desert. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) 95% of fentanyl is smuggled through legal ports of entry, mostly by U.S. citizens. Facts be damned, DeSantis is telling pernicious lies and his latest comments are part of the larger anti-immigrant extremism on display from Republicans that are mainstreaming white nationalist conspiracies and normalizing dangerous ideas. I fear that, once again, these comments will lead to real world violence directed at people because they look or sound a certain way.”