Florida Gov. DeSantis’ executive order prohibits migrant children, sparks problems among organizations

It is unclear whether unaccompanied migrant children are still accepted in Florida. No one knows what to do, not even those who fight for these children’s rights.

In response to what he called “Biden’s border crisis,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis agreed to sign an executive order prohibiting these migrant children shelters from getting licensed by the state.

However, immigration attorney Melissa Marantes claims that several shelters in the state have already shut down their programs for unaccompanied children.

Sparked Problems Among Organizations, Shelters In Florida

Until “major changes” are made to federal immigration rules, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, informed Florida that the state would no longer take part in a federal program to keep unaccompanied migrant children.

Marantes collaborates with Florida-based organizations that provide emergency shelter for unaccompanied migrant children on behalf of the federal government.

The children are frequently brought to the United States by their parents or other members of their families in Central and South America, who hope that the children would have a better life in the United States.

According to WPTV, they broke the story last year that the Dream Center, a shelter for migrant children in Sarasota, had to relocate scores of unaccompanied children because the state of Florida refused to relicense the shelter.

That conflict recently spurred His House, migrant kids shelter in Miami, to initiate a court complaint against DCF just a few months ago. After the denial of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) of a new license for the facility in September, the group filed a complaint with the Division of Administrative Hearings.

Since it first opened in the 1990s, the institution had operated continuously in the state without ever having its license renewal denied before this year, when DCF issued an administrative rule reflecting the Governor’s order.

According to legal records, the shelter and DCF are now in the process of settling the dispute.

No Longer With Federal Program To House Migrant Children

Investigative reporter Katie LaGrone got the January 26 letter by filing public records request with the state. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) Secretary received a letter from the federal government in December, which is an immediate response to that letter.

At the time, the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) was trying to get clarification from DCF on a set of new licensing criteria for shelters that temporarily accommodate unaccompanied children who have arrived in the United States.

Florida’s response, drafted by Governor DeSantis’s general counsel Ryan Newman, details how the federal ORR program has been hampered by the poor immigration enforcement practices of the Biden administration, ABC Action News reported in February.

In September, ABC Action News was the first to reveal that Gov. DeSantis had signed an executive order instructing DCF not to renew the state licenses of shelters that temporarily house unaccompanied minors using federal funding.

For unaccompanied children, the federal government has contracted facilities in 22 states, including Florida. Across the state, 16 licensed shelters provide temporary housing for these kids.

Related Article: DHS Needs More than $3 Billion for Possible Migrant Surge