In letter to President Biden, the Senators pushed for increased funding to secure ports of entry along southwest border.
Fentanyl is overwhelmingly smuggled into U.S. through ports of entry, hidden in everyday items by smugglers.
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) joined Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Senate colleagues in pushing President Biden to prioritize additional resources to stop the flow of illicit drugs like fentanyl through ports of entry along the border. As overdose deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data shows drugs are overwhelmingly being smuggled through U.S. ports of entry. In response to CBP agents reporting finding pills in seat cushions, car batteries, metal walkers, and bicycle frames, the Senators are pushing for increased funding for security and surveillance for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“We have long supported increasing funding for comprehensive measures to enhance border enforcement, management, and security,” the Senators wrote. “The situation at our border is complex, and it will take continued leadership and funding to stem the flow of illicit drugs like fentanyl, smuggling, and transnational criminal organizations that operate along our border.”
Overdose deaths, particularly among young people, are increasing across the United States. In total, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that more than 112,000 people died from a drug overdose between May 2022 and May 2023, with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids causing the vast majority of overdoses.
In their letter, the Senators urged President Biden to request additional supplemental funding for the border. Specifically, the Senators pushed for additional CBP agents to increase processing and screening capacity at ports of entry, as well as acquiring non-invasive inspection technology to stop drug smugglers before their fentanyl hits American fentanyl.
In addition to Senators Cortez Masto, Rosen, and Casey, the letter was signed by Senators Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
The full letter can be found here.
Senator Cortez Masto has been working to crack down on illicit drugs since she was Nevada’s Attorney General, when she worked with law enforcement and Mexican officials to combat the rise of methamphetamine manufacturing and cross-border drug trafficking. Cortez Masto and Rosen cosponsored the bipartisan FEND Off Fentanyl Act to crack down on transnational drug trafficking, which recently passed the Senate and is one step closer to becoming law. Both Senator Cortez Masto and Senator Rosen have consistently pushed to fix our broken immigration system by balancing critical border security measures with a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and essential workers.