House Republicans Seek Information on Fentanyl Overdoses Triggered by the Border Crisis
FAIR Take | January 2022
Earlier this week, the ranking members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to the top officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy demanding answers on the connection between fentanyl overdoses and the current border crisis.
Representatives James Comer (R-Ky.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) penned the letter, noting that in fiscal year 2021, CBP seized more than 11,000 pounds of fentanyl at the Southwest border, enough to kill more than 2.5 billion people.
CNN reported that between May 2020 and April 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States. The majority of those overdose deaths came from fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. China and Mexico manufacture most fentanyl distributed in the United States, which is then trafficked across the southern border to American-based drug dealers. A DEA report found that China is responsible for most fentanyl delivered through international mail, whereas Mexican cartels are responsible for producing fentanyl, which they then traffic across the border. The DEA report also noted that because of Chinese crackdowns on fentanyl production, Mexican cartels “are likely posted to take a larger role in both the production and the supply of fentanyl and fentanyl-containing illicit pills to the United States.”
Stopping drug trafficking at the border is one of CBP’s top priorities, alongside regular immigration duties. However, the issues go hand in hand. The continued struggle against an unprecedented border crisis stretches their resources thin. In the letter, ranking members Comer and McMorris Rodgers ask the aforementioned enforcement agencies to provide “information about how the increased flow of fentanyl into the U.S. is impacting communities around the U.S.”
The representatives tied the rise in fentanyl overdose deaths to the Biden administration’s dismantling of enforcement at our border, writing: “Congress cannot ignore these shocking numbers, particularly because the Biden administration’s border policies are allowing fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances to cross our borders at unprecedented rates.”
The Biden administration’s border policies reverberate well beyond releasing illegal aliens into the country. They erode CBP’s operational effectiveness and endangers public safety by making it easier for nefarious actors to traffic dangerous drugs through the border and into American communities.