TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Jacksonville couple who lost their son in a crash involving an illegal immigrant in 2007 attended Tuesday's State of the State address as guests of Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The governor met Kiyan and Bobby Michael last month and wants everyone in Florida to hear their story.
The Michaels are “angel parents” -- a relatively new term used to describe the relatives of people killed by illegal immigrants.
The Michaels' son, Brandon, was killed in a crash 12 years ago involving an illegal immigrant who had been deported twice and was driving without a driver’s license and registration when the crash happened.
The man was sentenced to two years in prison and was deported again after serving his time.
“The immigrant -- after he hit our son and killed our son -- got out of his car and sat on the curb and watched our baby boy, our son, take his last breaths,” Kiyan Michael said.
"I served in the United States Navy for 20 years protecting our country. And I was let down by our government not protecting us here in the State of Florida, and our children," Bobby Michael said.
DeSantis met the Michaels while promoting a federal program called 287-G that helps train local law enforcement agencies, allowing officers to perform some of the same duties as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents when illegal immigrants are arrested for other crimes.
"Brandon was a young man engaged to be married, but instead of planning a wedding Bobby and Kiyan had to plan a funeral. Had our laws simply been enforced, Bobby and Kiyan might not have had to bury their son, DeSantis said. " Let's do right by the Michael family; lets prohit sanctuary cities in Florida."
Several Florida counties have signed on to the program, including Clay and Duval counties.
DeSantis wants other agencies to join the program. Public safety and enforcing immigration laws were priorities in Tuesday's State of the State address.