DeSantis blasts illegal immigrant looters taking advantage of hurricane chaos

"They should be prosecuted, but they need to be sent back to their home country. They should not be here at all."

Updated: October 5, 2022 - 9:14pm

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Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis identified three of four individuals arrested for looting following Hurricane Ian as illegal immigrants.

"These are people that are foreigners. They're illegally in our country, but not only that, they try to loot and ransack in the aftermath of a natural disaster," he said, according to the Washington Times. "They should be prosecuted, but they need to be sent back to their home country. They should not be here at all."

Omar Mejia Ortiz, Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, Brandon Mauricio Araya, and Steve Eduardo Sanchez Araya all face charges of burglary of an unoccupied structure during a state of emergency, per the Times. On top of that, Ortiz faces a petit larceny charge while the remaining three each face grand larceny. Which three of the suspects are the illegal migrants remains unclear.

Last week, DeSantis issued a strong warning against would be looters, noting the state's permissive gun laws and highlighting a "you loot, we shoot" sign he observed while touring the damage.

"I can tell you in the state of Florida, you never know what may be lurking behind somebody's home," the governor said. "And I would not want to chance that if I were you."

DeSantis has long been a stark critic of President Joe Biden's lax attitude toward immigration enforcement and recently sent planes full of illegal migrants to the upper crust left-wing enclave of Martha's Vineyard to highlight the issue.

Nonetheless, the Republican stopped short of politicizing the lootings or the government's response to the hurricane, appearing with Biden at a press conference on Wednesday in which the pair touted the unity of the nation and thanked one another for their efforts in aiding with the relief process.

DeSantis currently enjoys a 55% approval rating in the state.

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