tags: Press Releases

DHS New Anti-Fentanyl Measures Draw Sharp Contrasts with GOP Politicization and “Blame Immigrants” Approach

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Washington, DC – Fresh reminders are in the news why fentanyl is not an immigration issue and that serious policies to address the crisis involve international trade, cooperation with Mexico, public health and treatment measures, as well as interdiction and screening at the ports of entry. This is a smarter and more effective approach than simply following Republicans’ lead and falsely blaming migrants and asylum seekers or using the fentanyl crisis as a pretext to call for anti-immigrant policies, as Republicans have been doing in congressional hearings and ongoing attacks against President Biden.

Nick Miroff reports in the Washington Post on the new DHS “Operation Blue Lotus” announced yesterday:

“The campaign will use new scanning technology, more drug-sniffing dogs and other detection tools to ramp up interdiction efforts and build criminal cases, officials said. Much of the effort will focus on ports of entry, the land border crossings where more than 90 percent of U.S. fentanyl seizures along the southern border have occurred since the start of the 2023 fiscal year on Oct. 1 … U.S. authorities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to install powerful new scanning machines along the southern border, including two in Nogales, that will allow for a tenfold increase in the number of commercial vehicles they can screen.”

A separate Washington Post op-ed by Sam Quinones, longtime chronicler of the U.S. Mexico relationship and drug policy, highlights the policy directions needed to truly combat fentanyl, including a renewed cooperative approach between Mexico and the U.S.:

“How about starting with a sustained attempt to gain control of and regulate the supply of chemicals entering Mexican ports? How about a far more aggressive approach to stopping weapons heading south into Mexico?”

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice: 

“In the first seven weeks of their congressional majority, Republicans have held seven anti-immigrant stunt hearings that seek to politicize the real challenges at the border. The goal of these hearings and the politically-motivated attacks is to hype up fears over immigrants and to blame Biden and Democrats rather than addressing solutions in a serious way. It is plain to see that their  motivations are not driven by genuine concern for the victims of the fentanyl crisis, but by politics and anti-immigrant animus. 

With more GOP hearings and legislative markups likely in coming weeks, we’ll see if Republicans continue to focus on political stunts rather than  serious solutions on  the fentanyl crisis, the border, and immigration.”