Fentanyl smuggled across the southern border is taking more than 70,000 American lives per year
WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) today led a group of Republican senators in reintroducing the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act, legislation to add drug smuggling as an additional basis for Title 42 immigration enforcement authority, thereby preserving for Border Patrol agents an essential tool to quickly remove illegal border crossers and stop the drug trafficking that is fueling the overdose epidemic in America, now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45.
Cosponsors of the legislation include Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ted Budd (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Todd Young (R-IN).
“70,000 Americans are dying annually from drug overdoses—most from deadly fentanyl flooding across our collapsed southern border,” said Senator Hagerty. “With the Biden Administration pushing to end Title 42 in May, it is unconscionable for Congress to stand aside and do nothing to preserve it. And while I agree that the pandemic is over, there is a new epidemic plaguing our nation—one that demands immediate action. We cannot afford to allow this shockingly-lethal drug to continue wreaking havoc on our communities and killing our youth. Congress must take up and pass this commonsense legislation without delay—too many innocent American lives hang in the balance.”
“Fentanyl is flowing into Idaho and killing people in our communities every day,” said Senator Risch. “Stronger border policies are the only way to stop this deadly drug from taking more lives.”
“Title 42 was created as part of a public health emergency health order and it makes sense to extend it to the fentanyl health emergency hitting our nation,” said Senator Hyde-Smith. “With overdose deaths rising, there is no good reason not to utilize Title 42 to fight the increasing flow of this deadly drug being smuggled across the border by cartels and illegal immigrants.”
“The fentanyl crisis is a real public health emergency that has hit far too close to home,” said Senator Blackburn. “From August 2021 to August 2022, over 107,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States – with 66% of those death involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Expanding Title 42 to include drug smuggling will give U.S. Border Patrol agents a necessary tool to significantly curb this Biden-fueled crisis and keep Americans safer.”
“The fentanyl that is coming through President Biden’s open southern border and into Montana is wreaking havoc on our local communities,” said Senator Daines. “We need to be using every resource at our disposal to stem the flood of illegal drugs into the United States, including Title 42. Montanans have had enough of the addiction, crime and tragedy the fentanyl epidemic has inflicted on our communities.”
“Securing the border and quickly removing those who smuggle drugs into our country should be a top priority for the federal government,” said Senator Budd. “I’m proud to support Senator Hagerty’s bill to boost border enforcement and ultimately save American lives.”
“The uncontrolled flow of fentanyl from the southern border to our neighborhoods and communities must be stopped,” said Senator Crapo. “The soaring increase in drug overdose deaths is a public health crisis, and the federal government should have every tool available to combat drug smuggling and illegal border crossings into the United States.”
“The situation at our border is a crisis,” said Senator Lummis. “Even more, the massive amount of fentanyl flowing across our border has turned it into a health crisis. Title 42 was created to help prevent the spread of disease, and we are experiencing an epidemic of deaths due to this incredibly deadly drug. Thank you to Senator Hagerty for his work to find solutions to this dangerous situation.”
In April 2022, Hagerty led a group of Tennessee sheriffs and mayors to the southern border to see the border crisis first hand. Border Patrol agents repeatedly warned Hagerty that Title 42 is the last tool left for slowing down the record number of illegal border crossers and the fentanyl coming across our southern border.
During the 117th Congress, Hagerty led his colleagues in introducing the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act. Hagerty sought to pass his bill on the Senate floor in April 2022, November 2022, and December 2022, but Democrats blocked it all three times.
In February, the Biden Administration argued to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is currently hearing a case regarding the legality of Biden Administration efforts to terminate Title 42, that Title 42 will terminate in May 2023 with the expiration of the COVID-19 public health emergency status. Hagerty’s legislation would preserve continued use of Title 42 authority in order to combat drug trafficking at the border.