Miami's mayor endorses Trump, pointing to the southern border as the reason

Max Greenwood and Syra Ortiz Blanes, Miami Herald on

Published in Political News

MIAMI — Miami Mayor Francis Suarez endorsed Donald Trump’s presidential bid on Friday, claiming that the former president is the “only candidate” capable of tackling a range of pressing issues facing the country, including a growing migrant crisis at the U.S. southern border.

The endorsement came a day after Trump and President Joe Biden made overlapping visits to the U.S.-Mexico border, where Biden called on Republicans to join him in passing legislation to secure the border and Trump accused the president of allowing record numbers of migrants to flood into the U.S. unabated.

Suarez — a Republican of Cuban descent who briefly sought the GOP presidential nomination last year as the party’s only Hispanic candidate — said that the dueling visits to the border on Thursday made clear that Trump was the best candidate for the job.

Suarez, who ended his presidential campaign last summer after struggling to register any support in polls of the race, vowed to help Trump and the GOP secure a “larger share” of Hispanic voters, a key constituency to win Miami-Dade County and Florida in the 2024 elections.

“After seeing both our current President and President Trump at the border, and having been there myself last week, it is evident to me that the only candidate that will keep our country safe, our border secured, reduce inflation, and can coherently lead our country forward is President Donald J. Trump,” Suarez said in a statement.

In the 2020 elections, the former president and the Republican party significantly expanded their support among Hispanic and Latino voters in Miami-Dade County and across Florida. Both the GOP and the Democratic Party have continued their outreach efforts to Hispanic voters, who make up over a quarter of the state’s population. In November 2022, Gov. Ron DeSantis won Miami-Dade County with big support from Hispanics and by the biggest margin of any Republican governor in decades.

Suarez, who is transparent about his interest in possibly serving as Trump’s running mate, also said he would assist Trump in garnering the support of “young voters and voters across our cities and urban centers.”

Spokespeople for Trump’s campaign did not respond to the Miami Herald’s requests for comment on the endorsement.

In an interview with Fox Business on Thursday, Suarez said that immigration was the “number one issue” in the 2024 presidential election.


“What we do see … is a tremendous strain on the school system, and one that we have to deal with. We definitely see it. We are a border city in so far as people coming through the ocean, as well, and people that traverse the southern border make their way to Miami as well,” Suarez said of the impact of recently arrived immigrants in Miami.

Just last week, Suarez visited the Mexican border on the Texan town of McAllen with a conservative nonprofit group, where he said that he supported overhauling the federal immigration system to “right-size” it and that he welcomed more migrant workers to Miami. He visited the border last year while he was still seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

It’s hard to say how many immigrants have come to Miami in recent years. A county analysis of Department of Homeland Security data shows that over 58,000 migrants processed by federal authorities in the U.S.-Mexico border have said the Miami metro area is their intended destination since June 2023.

In South Florida — where national immigration issues and Latin American foreign policy are staples of local politics —the rush at the U.S.-Mexico border has been a matter of public discussion among elected officials.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has asked Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to expand Temporary Protected Status for Nicaragua and to give retroactive humanitarian parole for recently-arrived Cubans who aren’t eligible to apply for green cards under the Cuban Adjustment Act.

Immigration has also been at the front and center of Hialeah’s local government in recent weeks. Mayor Esteban Bovo, another Cuban-American Republican who supports Trump, has pointed fingers at recently-arrived migrants for some of the city’s issues, such as a lack of affordable housing. But so far, officials have shown limited data linking migrants in Hialeah to a strain on the city and its resources.

On Monday, Hialeah’s City Commission — which named one of the city’s main avenues after Trump in November — condemned President Joe Biden in a resolution that claims that his immigration policies have harmed Hialeah.

©2024 Miami Herald. Visit at miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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