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America is facing a drug epidemic due to the Biden administration’s weak open-border policies, which are inviting drug cartels to continue to move thousands of pounds of illicit drugs quietly across our southern border. Without a secure border American drug overdoses and deaths will continue to skyrocket. President Joe Biden must enforce our immigration laws and enable Border Patrol agents and ICE officers to do their jobs to stem the flow of illicit drugs from being trafficked across the southern border.
People unfamiliar with what is happening at the southern border believe that the ongoing crisis is simply a border state’s issue. Sadly, many people who have not experienced the lawlessness on the southern border firsthand do not see the negative effects of open-border policies. Although the flood of illegal aliens and human and drug trafficking immediately impact border states, President Biden’s refusal to act on the border crisis is hurting the entire nation.
Montana for example, is experiencing a major spike in drug overdoses – a direct result of cartels effortlessly smuggling illicit drugs into our country. With little support from the White House, Border Patrol agents are stretched thin and can only do so much to stop illicit drugs from pouring across our border.
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In fiscal year 2021, almost a million pounds of illegal drugs, including over 202,000 pounds of fentanyl and methamphetamine, were seized by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The amount of fentanyl seized was enough to kill every American nearly seven times over. Fentanyl border seizures, specifically, increased by 134% in FY 2021, and most of the fentanyl that is flooding our communities is entering the country from Mexico. If a million pounds of drugs were seized by CBP last year, how much more came into the interior undetected? Once the cartels send drugs across the border, it only takes 24-48 hours to distribute it as far north as Montana.
In 2021, the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) seized large amounts of illegal drugs. According to the Montana Department of Justice however, this year our state has already blown past last year’s seizures. State Troopers seized nearly 3,800 fentanyl tablets in 2021 and fentanyl arrests spiked 1,600 percent from the previous year. Through March 15 of this year, MHP Troopers have already seized over 12,000 fentanyl pills, three times more than the total for the entire 2021 calendar year. Pharmacies in Montana are now dispensing Narcan without prescriptions, and they are encouraging people to carry it with them if anyone in their household uses opioids. Narcan is a nasal spray containing naloxone, which can quickly reverse an opioid overdose.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that in 2021, 107,622 Americans died of drug overdoses, with 75 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. There were more fentanyl-related deaths in the United States in 2021, than gun- and auto-related deaths combined. How can America’s leaders refuse to acknowledge that their open-borders policies are literally killing Americans?
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How many more Americans must fall victim to the drugs coming across the border before this administration takes responsibility and acts? How many more children will have to grow up without a parent or sibling before the White House starts enforcing our immigration laws? How many more parents must experience the loss of a child due to a drug overdose before the President supports and enables his Border Patrol agents to do their jobs successfully, thereby stemming the flow of illicit drugs into the United States?
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The solution is simple: enforce our immigration laws to prevent illegal drugs from flooding our country. The failure of the Biden administration to enact an “America First” policy agenda to keep its citizens safe is troubling and our current crisis will continue until new leadership is elected.
Republican Matt Rosendale represents Montana’s at-large congressional district.