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No immediate plans to ship migrants to Florida, federal official stresses

Skyler Swisher, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A proposal to send thousands of migrants to South Florida to ease the crisis at the Southern border is only part of a "contingency plan" that is still in the works, a senior official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday.

Officials in Broward and Palm Beach have expressed alarm this week that they could soon be inundated with an influx of undocumented immigrants.

A federal official tried to address those concerns Friday in a conference call with reporters, saying there is no imminent plan to send migrants to Broward and Palm Beach counties. The official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said it remains a possibility under a contingency plan being developed.

"We do not have any aircraft flying into Florida at this time, but we are looking at capacity building," he said.

"All we are looking at right now is where we have the capacity," he added.

The official declined to identify the communities under consideration, other than to say the agency is examining facilities in coastal and northern border regions that could process the overflow of migrants at the southern border.

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Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen said he's not aware of anyone from the federal government contacting county officials to clarify that there are no imminent plans. He questioned why the Trump administration is discussing its planning anonymously with reporters and not communicating with local officials.

"Just call us. We are not getting one phone call," he said Friday evening. "We are still acting on the information until we are told otherwise."

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said he was told by a Miami-based Border Patrol official earlier this week that about 1,000 migrants a month would be transported from the El Paso, Texas, area to Broward and Palm Beach counties within two weeks.

He said the federal government has not given local officials an adequate plan for providing educational, health care, housing and transportation services. It also hasn't offered to reimburse communities for expenses.

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