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DeSantis: Illegal aliens who looted during hurricane need to be deported

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)
October 07, 2022

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced that four people had been arrested in Lee County for looting after Hurricane Ian and three of those four were in the U.S. illegally. DeSantis said those illegal aliens who had been caught looting should be deported.

During a Tuesday press conference, DeSantis said, “We’ve had four looters that were arrested, I guess a couple days ago, and they need to be brought to justice and we’re not going to tolerate it.”

But you know, three of the four are illegal aliens,” DeSantis continued. “And so 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.”

DeSantis’ remarks about the looting begin at around the 4:50 mark.

“They should be prosecuted, but they need to be sent back to their home country,” DeSantis continued. “They should not be here at all.”

According to Lee County arrest records, four people were arrested on Sept. 29 on charges of “Burglary to an Unoccupied Structure during a State of Emergency.” Those arrested included Valerie Celeste Salcedo Mena, 26; Brandon Mauricio Araya, 20; Steve Eduardo Sanchez Araya, 20; and Omar Mejia Ortiz, 33.

Salceda Mena and both Arayas were also charged with grand theft, while Ortiz was additionally charged with petty theft.

It was not clear which of the four were in the country illegally.

DeSantis issued a broader warning during his press conference to looters and those seeking to take advantage of the natural disaster to commit crimes.

“We’ve been very clear that in situations like this we’re not going to let bad actors exploit them,” DeSantis said. “That means law and order enforced. That means individual Floridians’ right to defend themselves and their homes will be honored.”

DeSantis has been an outspoke critic of federal immigration policies under President Joe Biden. The Florida governor garnered national attention last month when he sent two planes carrying 50 illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.