Washington, DC – As Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, he told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security that Americans dying from fentanyl overdoses is the, “single greatest challenge we face as a country.”
“The statement appeared to be the first time Mayorkas or any other Cabinet-level member of the Biden administration has described the deadly synthetic opioid in those terms.
…Mayorkas told senators that fentanyl was a years-long scourge that has been building, and he said the Biden administration was working with Mexico to ‘bring the fight to the cartels.’
…More than 90 percent of the fentanyl stopped by the agency is detected at ports of entry along the Mexican border, the legal crossings where smugglers attempt to conceal fentanyl powder and pills inside vehicles or send it across with pedestrian couriers.
Mayorkas announced a targeted campaign against fentanyl — ‘Operation Blue Lotus’ — during a visit to the Nogales, Ariz., port of entry on March 11. He said the campaign will use sophisticated scanning machines, drug-sniffing dogs and other tools to boost seizures and build criminal cases.”
Fentanyl is an urgent problem that needs a multifaceted approach, however, as America’s Voice noted yesterday, Republicans continue to deny the facts and falsely blame asylum seekers for the scourge of fentanyl.
Republicans also seem intent on ignoring the danger posed by white nationalism, instead exacerbating the problem with their rhetoric. America’s Voice asked the question in a recent blog, “Where Does the Violent White Nationalism End and The GOP Begin?”
“[T]he FBI, Attorney General, and Secretary of Homeland Security have all testified that the threat from violent domestic extremists is a leading terrorist concern. In November 2022 and again in December 2022, DHS issued memos warning about threats to migrants and infrastructure at the southern border in response to anti-immigrant-related concerns.
This racist conspiracy that immigrants are ‘invading’ the U.S. to replace white people is not new but was once confined to the dark corners of the internet. As Dr. Elizabeth Yates, Senior Researcher on Antisemitism at Human Rights First, notes, ‘10 years ago, you would have seen this rhetoric on neo-Nazi websites that you now hear from members of Congress.’”
Contrary to what Republicans may believe, the Department of Homeland Security focuses on more issues than just immigration. Rather than work with Secretary Mayorkas and his agency to tackle the twin crises of fentanyl and white nationalist radicalization leading to violence, the GOP refuses to engage in real issues and prefers advancing white nationalist rhetoric to polarize and inflame.
According to Zachary Mueller, Political Director of America’s Voice:
“Republicans have shown time and time again that scoring divisive political points with their radicalized base and performing outrage in hopes of getting a Fox News guest shot is far more important than solving the nation’s urgent problems. Worse, their cynical politics exacerbates some of our most serious and urgent challenges. Two of those issues – fentanyl and white nationalism – have been cited time and again by our national security leaders as the main threats to America. Yet, Republicans harm the ability to come to bipartisan solutions on fentanyl by continuing to deny facts and prioritize demagoguing on migrants. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to amplify the very white nationalist conspiracy theories and lies that have inspired multiple domestic terrorist attacks over the last several years or turn a blind eye to their colleagues who do.”