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What is the Florida State Guard?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Immigration Law

The Florida State Guard (FSG) is a defense force tasked with emergency response and public safety in Florida. It supports state and local agencies during a disaster and, more recently, fills a role in immigration matters.

Following decades of inactivity, Gov. DeSantis revived the FSG in 2022, ostensibly to enhance the state’s crisis readiness. Immigration advocacy groups and attorneys have been concerned about the FSG’s activities for some time.

Disturbing training practices

Recently, reports about the military-style training practices of a specialized unit within the FSG have made headlines. The unit reportedly undergoes instruction in the following areas:

  • Rifles and handguns
  • Aerial gunnery
  • Hand-to-hand combat
  • Mass casualty triage scenarios

Reportedly, this unit has the power to make arrests and carry weapons legally, unlike most FSG members.

Telling internal turmoil

Additionally, there has been trouble within the Guard, with some recruits complaining that the organization has become too militarized. As a result, a significant portion dropped out or were dismissed, and there were reports of disputes between instructors and recruits.

Internal unrest and the exodus of many recruits suggest that the changing focus of the FSG may be at odds with its historically humanitarian goals.

Increased presence at the border

Whether you have loved ones who have already entered Florida or plan to, there may be increased Guard presence in some areas, especially along the southern border. Anticipating an influx of migrants due to the unrest in Haiti, DeSantis has already deployed personnel in the air and on the water. No increase in Haiti arrivals has yet occurred.

Having legal guidance can help protect immigrants’ rights and access to fair, humane treatment from immigration authorities.