Warnock Calls For Biden to Spend More on Border Security and Fighting Fentanyl

Warnock Calls For Biden to Spend More on Border Security and Fighting Fentanyl

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馃攷 The Gist: Senator Raphael Warnock and 16 other senators want President Biden to spend more money on border security and stop the dangerous drug fentanyl from coming into the country.

馃摪 The Details: These senators are working together to get more security at the borders to stop drugs, especially fentanyl, from being smuggled in. They are responding to the recent refusal to pass immigration reforms by Republicans, who halted a bipartisan immigration reform package because Republican frontrunner Donald Trump hopes to campaign on the border issue during the 2024 election.

馃搳 By The Numbers:

  • 240,000 pounds of drugs were caught at the border last year.
  • The drugs caught included enough fentanyl to cause billions of potential overdoses.
  • Last year, over 112,000 people in the U.S. died from overdosing, many because of fentanyl.

馃寪 The Big Picture: The senators鈥 message to the President is about making the country safer by stopping drugs at the border. They say this is important to help stop people in America from getting hurt by drugs, especially young people and communities already facing tough times.

Why It Matters: Senator Warnock and the other senators are working hard to get the government to act against drug smuggling and fentanyl. They believe more money for border security can help save lives by keeping these dangerous drugs out of our towns and cities.

馃摦 The Letter: Below is the full text of the letter that you can read for yourself.

Dear President Biden,

As you develop your budget request for fiscal year 2025, we write to urge you to prioritize robust funding for border security and drug interdiction initiatives. Much of the fentanyl聽that is destroying so many communities across the Nation is being smuggled through border checkpoints. In order to meaningfully address the fentanyl crisis, law enforcement officers at our Nation鈥檚 borders must be equipped to combat the flow of fentanyl and聽other illicit drugs. We must also support the law enforcement agencies that are investigating these smuggling and trafficking crimes and working to disrupt the transnational criminal networks that threaten our country and our communities.

The misuse of opioids has long been a public health crisis in the United States, but the situation is rapidly worsening with the proliferation of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues. The聽Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that between August 2022 and August 2023, over 112,000 people died of a drug overdose, with synthetic opioids like fentanyl involved in the vast majority of these deaths. Another concerning aspect of this聽trend is the rapid increase in youth accidental overdose deaths, which more than doubled between the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2022. A key factor in this crisis is that, due to its widespread availability and low cost, fentanyl is being聽mixed with other illicit drugs to increase their potency, often without the knowledge of the user. These include illegal pills, mass-produced by cartels, made to look like legitimate prescription opioids like OxyContin and Xanax. In 2023, the Drug EnforcementAdministration seized more than 78 million fentanyl-laced fake pills and estimated that 70 percent contained a lethal dose of fentanyl, up from 60 percent in 2022 and 40 percent in 2021.

The proliferation of fentanyl and increasing overdose deaths are being driven, at least in part, by trafficking activities at our borders. Most of the fentanyl entering the U.S. is聽trafficked through official land border crossings on the southwest border by transnational criminal organizations, including Mexican cartels. In fiscal year 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 240,000 pounds of drugs at the southwest land聽border, which included an estimated 1.1 billion doses of fentanyl. Forty-four percent of total drug seizures and 99 percent of fentanyl seizures occurred at the southwest land border. While transnational criminal organizations smuggle illicit drugs into the聽U.S, they also illegally export currency from drug proceeds and firearms which they use to outgun local authorities. This illegal trade occurs at official ports of entry, alongside legitimate trade and transit, and we must do more to fortify our ports of entry聽and support the officers who are tasked with both intercepting this illegal trade and safeguarding our Nation.

In the interest of our Nation鈥檚 public health, and to protect our youth and our communities who are increasingly being exposed to deadly drugs laced with fentanyl, we must strengthen聽our borders and work to eliminate the transnational criminal organizations that produce fentanyl and traffic it into our country. To do this, we must prioritize additional funding for the Department of Homeland Security for its critical border security operations.聽We urge you to invest in hiring CBP personnel, procuring non-intrusive inspection scanning technology, and supporting infrastructure needs at ports of entry. Officers at our ports of entry must have the resources they need to enforce our laws, interdict fentanyland other contraband coming into the country, and seize firearms and currency leaving the country before they make it into the hands of dangerous criminals. We also urge you to make strong investments into the agencies and programs that investigate trafficking聽crimes and conduct broader investigations of transnational criminal organizations.

We have long supported increased funding and new policies to address the complex challenges at our southwest border. To respond to the deadly and growing plague of fentanyl entering聽the United States, we urge you to support strong investments in border security measures, especially personnel increases and technology upgrades, that will enhance operations along our borders and enable law enforcement officers to keep our Nation safe. Thank聽you for your attention to our request and these critical funding needs.

馃搶 What鈥檚 Next?: Everyone is waiting to see if the President will agree to put more money into border security and fighting fentanyl in the next budget. If he does, it could mean better protection at the borders and fewer drugs getting into the country.

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