Republican lawmakers in Florida held an emergency meeting this week where they BEGGED immigrants to stay in the state. The state is about to experience massive economic pain thanks to Ron DeSantis’ recent bill targeting migrant workers in Florida. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: Republican lawmakers in Florida held an emergency meeting this week where they begged, they begged immigrants to, please, please stay in Florida. The state’s about to experience massive economic pain thanks to Ron DeSantis, the guy who’s running for president. His recent bill targets migrant workers in Florida, and it’s really, really bad for Florida, possibly the entire southeast. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joins me to talk about it. Farron, you know this story, this story is nauseating. If there’s somebody that’s followed this from beginning to know what these creeps have done behind closed doors, pick it up.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. What we saw this week was down in Hialeah, Florida, you had three Republican lawmakers, and we gotta name ’em. State Representative Alina Garcia, Rick Roth, and Juan Barquin held this meeting in South Florida behind closed doors. They’ve got their business leaders who are freaked out about the thought of losing all their migrant labor. So these lawmakers get up on stage and it’s all on video, and they tell them, listen, there’s no teeth in this bill. It’s all for politics. It’s all for show.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: So what you have to do is you gotta tell your migrant workers, don’t leave. Tell your migrant workers to tell their migrant friends, don’t leave the state, because we’re all panicked about it. And this is, again, this is all on video. Thomas Kennedy, reporter from South Florida caught it all.

Mike Papantonio: So do you think this guy who’s running for president didn’t know that? Didn’t know that this was a show, and then all of a sudden the construction industry is calling Tallahassee saying, what the hell? What have you done? This is our workforce. We can’t build houses without them. We can’t put roofs on houses without ’em. The citrus industry saying, who in the world do you think is gonna pick the oranges now? They’re calling him, they’re calling Republican representatives to say, have you gone frigging crazy? Because what’s happening is they understand this. The entire GDP of Florida is going to be in the tank. So now we learn, they knew that all along. This was a scare tactic. This was all about the culture wars. We want to out culture war Trump. We wanna look so far to the right that we look like crazy people. Well, he’s done it. He looks like a crazy man and the idiots in Tallahassee look even crazier, don’t they?

Farron Cousins: They really do. And I’m glad you used that phrase, scare tactic, because that is what those lawmakers in, down in South Florida said. They said, this law is just a scare tactic. The goal is to keep people, migrants, from coming into Florida. We don’t wanna lose the ones we’ve got. It’s one of those, you know, you are the good ones. We don’t want the other ones coming in here.

Mike Papantonio: We don’t want the bad ones. It’s all about mobility. This is what they miss, totally. Well, I don’t think they missed it. I think they had closed door meetings. I promise you, they had closed door meetings in Tallahassee and you had a bunch of cigar smoking punks talking about the idea, this is perfect. We’re gonna scare the hell out of everybody. We’re gonna, out of immigrants, we’re gonna look like we’re right of Attila the Hun. We’re gonna look like we’re winning the culture war. And all of a sudden this meeting takes place in, down in Hialeah County and they say, look, it was just a show. The crazy man here was just putting on a show. The guy running for president was just putting on a show. Well, if he’s gonna put a show like that on in Florida, think of what he’s gonna do in Washington, DC. Think about that. And if he says, well, I didn’t have any control over the legislators. Nonsense. Right?

Farron Cousins: Oh, exactly. This bill came from Ron DeSantis. They know, everybody in that legislature knows, that this is what he wanted. He wouldn’t have signed it. He wouldn’t have pushed it. He wouldn’t be bragging about it out there on the campaign trail. And every one of them, you’re right, knows how devastating this is. What I don’t think they expected was the massive backlash from their donors, because those are the people who are gonna first immediately get hurt.

Mike Papantonio: The donors are going crazy. This guy has gotten his, all of his money from the Chamber of Commerce types. The Chamber of Commerce types are writing, we need more immigrants. I mean, that’s their big, we need more immigrants. So this guy with other little creatures in Tallahassee says, well, look, we’re gonna take advantage of this. We’re gonna look like we’re anti-immigration and people are gonna love us for it. Next day, all the donors start calling him, have you lost your freaking mind? Right. Now this is admitted, I mean, they’re admitting it in this meeting. Right. One more time, tell the viewers what was said in this meeting.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. Again, I’m gonna give full credit, obviously, Thomas Kennedy, who captured this.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, great work here.

Farron Cousins: These three lawmakers are sitting there telling these people, don’t panic. It’s all for show. This is just politics. There’s a political agenda behind it. It’s not meant to really be enforced. They said, there’s no teeth in it.

Mike Papantonio: Well, I’ll tell you what, it’s worked because they’re leaving already, buddy.

Farron Cousins: They are.

Mike Papantonio: They’re going to Alabama, they’re going to Mississippi, they’re going to Georgia. And this guy’s gonna have to explain to Florida consumers and the cats in Tallahassee are gonna have to explain to the consumers why we’ve increased the cost of building a house by 20%. Why now orange juice costs $10 a bottle. Well, they’re gonna have some explaining to do and he thinks this is gonna help him. It’s just the opposite. My prediction is this might be a deal killer for this guy once people understand this is the guy who wants to do the same kind of thing running the entire country.

Farron Cousins: Our US economy would be crippled if we did what DeSantis has done to Florida to the rest of the United States. When he says, let’s make America Florida, that’s not a promise, that’s a threat. It is an absolute threat that he wants to do that.

Mike Papantonio: It should scare the bejesus out of everybody. Well, you know, it’s life in the political lane. But you know what, it did so much harm to Florida that it’s already harmed our economy and it’s only gonna get worse.

Farron Cousins:: Well, that’s the thing. It’s harmed us so much already and it technically hasn’t gone into effect yet.

Mike Papantonio: Right.

Farron Cousins: But what we’ve seen, there’s reports, you’ve gotten migrants in Florida, immigrants, even legal immigrants who are now afraid to leave their homes. Restaurants are losing business because people aren’t going in because I don’t want people to assume I’m an illegal immigrant and then I get arrested.

Mike Papantonio: Right, right.

Farron Cousins: It is having a chilling effect in every industry.

Mike Papantonio:: We’re gonna talk about that in the next segment.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.