Republicans are increasingly urging President Joe Biden to stop his efforts to end Title 42, the public health authority used at the United States-Mexico border to stem illegal immigration, and instead use the policy to fight the nation’s deadly fentanyl crisis.
In 2020, in the midst of the Chinese coronavirus crisis, former President Donald Trump invoked Title 42 at the border to ensure that federal immigration officials could quickly return illegal aliens to Mexico for the sake of public health.
Months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that on May 23, the Biden administration would end Title 42.
In April, Trump-appointed Judge Robert R. Summerhays announced he would block the administration from ending Title 42, and this month, he issued a preliminary injunction — blocking Title 42 from being eliminated.
Since then, the Biden administration has vowed to appeal Summerhays’s decision. A growing consensus among Senate Republicans, though, is calling on Biden to transfer the use of Title 42 from COVID-19 to fentanyl.
“Border Patrol agents told me that, given the record-breaking border crossings they’re currently facing, there are times when every agent is busy processing migrant paperwork, leaving the border wide open for drug and human trafficking,” Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) said in a Senate floor speech in April:
The drugs and gang members — and the accompanying violence — then flood into our American communities. As one agent put it, the people crossing the border don’t stay in this area, and neither do the drugs. [Emphasis added]
More than 100,000 Americans died last year from drug overdoses — mostly from fentanyl — which are really more akin to Chinese Communist Party-engineered poisonings. [Emphasis added]
Hagerty introduced legislation that would have added drug smuggling as an additional basis for Title 42 at the border. A motion to secure unanimous consent to pass the bill was blocked by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI).
“We desperately need Title 42 to fight this drug epidemic,” Hagerty said of his legislation. “It’s a tool that would quite literally save American lives in every state in the union immediately.”
“So, Democrats are categorically opposed to commonsense border security tools to prevent drug trafficking into America — no matter how bad the drug overdose numbers get,” he said. “How much longer will it take to change course from the Biden immigration policies that have created this national security crisis?”
In an exclusive interview with SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Daily, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said that she backs the plan as well.
“I do hope that Title 42 stays in place. We know that the purpose of Title 42 is for a public health emergency … Senator Hagerty has suggested that we change it from that public health emergency that’s addressing COVID-19 and put in its place, drugs, because we know we have a fentanyl problem,” Ernst said.
“We should use Title 42 to enforce that public health emergency because it is a public health emergency,” she continued.
As Breitbart News has chronicled, fentanyl deaths have skyrocketed in American border communities as a result of increased drug trafficking at the southern border. In one community, Riverside County, California, fentanyl deaths have increased by more than 800 percent in the last five years.
These soaring fentanyl deaths are not only tied to drug overdoses but also poisonings, as law enforcement says they are finding fentanyl “in everything” from candy to vape pens. This was the case for 20-year-old Alexandra Capelouto, who died more than two years ago after taking half of a counterfeit sleeping pill that ended up being laced with fentanyl.
Nationally, more than 100,000 Americans die every year from drug overdoses, including tiny doses of fentanyl. Put another way – the U.S. is losing a population the size of South Bend, Indiana, every year from drugs primarily coming across the border.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.