tags: Press Releases

Why Ted Cruz and GOP Are Full of It on Border Drug Trafficking

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No, migrants aren’t bringing drugs across the border, Americans are doing so at ports of entry; 

No, seizures don’t signify a border in crisis, they signify the successful deployment of technology and enforcement; 

No, most Republicans did not vote for the technology that make drug seizures possible, but they want to blame fentanyl on migrants and Democrats anyway

Washington, DC – Yesterday, Senator Ted Cruz continued to launch political attacks on Biden and the border when he tweeted, “$7.1 million in meth seized at Laredo port of entry … #BidenBorderCrisis.” This is pure disinformation, and he knows it is disinformation. But in today’s fact-free GOP, Cruz stands out as a practitioner of the art of slinging BS: start with a conclusion that riles the base and then vaguely point to other information that seems to support it. 

Here are three reminders why Sen. Cruz’s tweet, and similar Republican attacks, are so off-base:

  • Cruz’s assertion that a drug seizure is indicative of “Biden’s border crisis” is nonsensical. Aren’t drug seizures a signal of the exact opposite of an open border and a border crisis? Similarly, Republicans cite high numbers of border encounters with border enforcement agents as evidence the border is “out of control.” Say what? Law enforcement rates of apprehensions make it clear that this is a distortion aimed at scoring political points, not a fact-based critique worthy of being taken seriously.
  • Attempts to link migrants and asylum seekers to drug importation are slanderous. As Cruz’s tweet referenced and as the underlying local news article explains, this seizure occurred at a port of entry during an inspection of a vehicle – just like more than 90% of all drugs interdicted at the border. Yet Republicans continue to falsely conflate drug importation in general and fentanyl specifically with migrants and asylum seekers entering between ports of entry. As we highlighted last week, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) have a new ad that advances the false linkage between the scourge of fentanyl and the arrival of migrants and asylum seekers at our southern border. A recent story from Alisa Reznick of Arizona Public Media’s Fronteras desk reports, “Some politicians insist migrants bring drugs across the border. Data tells a different story.” The piece highlights how Republicans in Arizona and across the country are advancing this claim, but the actual government data and experts tell a very different story (read or listen to the story here). In fact, Republican policies like Title 42 and closing ports of entry to asylum seekers, which are supported by some Democrats as well, drive enforcement resources to areas between ports of entry where drugs are not coming in and away from the ports of entry, where the drugs are coming in.  
  • Sen. Cruz and most Republican members of Congress voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included $430 million for CBP for the “construction and modernization of land ports of entry and equipment and fixtures for operations” –  including screening technology that enables law enforcement to intercept traffickers and fentanyl attempting to enter the U.S. at ports of entry. 

The following is a statement from Mario Carrillo, Texas-based Campaigns Manager for America’s Voice:

Republicans’ politicized nativist attacks are ugly and untethered from the real facts. They’re also frequently contradictory and reveal aspects of their own voting record that show vulnerability. It has become a big feature of the Republicans’ election year disinformation machine to confuse and misdirect voters. Meanwhile, another 100,000 Americans will die from overdoses because we are not working towards meaningful solutions to address the opioid crisis in realistic ways. 

If the GOP was really concerned about the urgent challenges with opioid addiction, overdose deaths, and synthetic fentanyl, they would have supported Biden and Democrats’ efforts to increase resources for screening at ports of entry instead of nearly unanimously voting in opposition. But, of course, their motivations are about cynical politics and stoking fear in pursuit of political power, not actually addressing solutions around immigration and the border or dealing with the scourge of drugs.