Don’t miss on FOX NEWS: Chair Rodgers Leads E&C to Southern Border to Address Fentanyl Crisis

Feb 17, 2023

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA) led committee members to Texas for the first congressional field hearing at the southern border in the 118th Congress. The members discussed how President Biden’s border policies are causing a public health crisis in border communities and is fueling the illicit fentanyl poisoning crisis nationwide. Members also shared why Congress must take action on Rep. Griffith (R-VA) and Rep. Latta’s (R-OH) HALT Fentanyl Act, which would give law enforcement tools needed to keep fentanyl-related substances out of our communities. 

Chair Rodgers on Biden’s Border Crisis: “This is an attack on our young generation, and it is critical that we are taking steps to stop the flow of fentanyl across our border."

Dana Perino: “A group of bipartisan lawmakers holding the first ever hearing [this Congress] at the border [Wednesday]. FOX News cameras tagged along as those lawmakers went on a nighttime tour of the area.” 

Griff Jenkins: “This was the first, but lawmakers told me it won’t be the last. Now this is the Energy and Commerce Committee Chair by Cathy McMorris Rodgers […] They took a deep dive into the public health crisis at the border with a particular focus on the unprecedented amount of fentanyl coming across.” 

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CLICK HERE to watch more as reported on FOX News.  

At the field hearing, witnesses provided crucial testimony describing how the border crisis is creating a public health crisis in neighboring communities and is fueling the fentanyl crisis across the nation. Below are excerpts and highlights of prepared testimony: 

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Mr. Brandon Judd, President, National Border Patrol Council 

“Under our current border security policies, criminal cartels have become incredibly successful at bringing their high-value products into our country illegally and these circumstances have contributed to a huge increase in the flow of hard narcotics making their way into the U.S., and wreaking havoc on our communities. According to a Washington Post report entitled, “Fentanyl’s deadly surge, Overview: From Mexican labs to U.S. streets, a lethal pipeline,” published in December 2022, more than 107,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2021 and, “fentanyl was responsible for two-thirds of those deaths.” The amount of illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, pouring into our country across our Southern border is staggering and frankly terrifying knowing that just two milligrams is considered a lethal dose.  

“According to publicly available data from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Border Patrol alone—not the Office of Field Operations responsible for our ports of entry—seized 949 pounds of fentanyl along the Southwest border from February 2021—the first full month of President Biden’s open border policies—through January 2022. CBP just recently released narcotics seizure data for President Biden’s second full year in office—February 2022 through January 2023—and the amount of illicit fentanyl seized by just the Border Patrol has more than doubled to 2,294 pounds. To give some perspective on those statistics—2,294 pounds of fentanyl converts to over 1 billion milligrams, enough to kill over 500 million people.”   

Full Testimony

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Mr. Urbino Martinez, Brooks County Sheriff 

“On a national level, in 2022, there were 2.2 million encounters from 171 countries. In the current FY 23 there have been 775,000 encounters, with 3,000 of those having serious criminal history with national security and public safety concerns. There have been 1.2 million got-a-ways reported. We have no idea if they’re Cartel, other criminals, or terrorist, because the Federal Government has failed to enforce border security efforts and Border Patrol’s time has been taken up processing the majority of migrants giving themselves up at the border.  

“From March—October 2022, the Texas Operation Lone Star Coalition, of which Brooks County is a part of, has reported 322 smuggling pursuits, 204 bailouts, recovered 181 stolen vehicles, seized 31 firearms, seized $591,000 going back to Mexico, recorded $286,000 of property damage, and have charged 179 people for engaging in organized criminal activity.  

“In the past 31 days of 2023, there have been 1,937 Mexican Cartel drone’s incursions in three South Texas border counties.” 

Full Testimony

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Mr. Stuart Archer, CEO, Oceans Health Care 

"[…] it has been my experience that our law enforcement and first responders have been particularly impacted by the mental health and substance use issues they are confronted with daily in their jobs. Instead of allowing our law enforcement to do what they do best, we have instead depended on them to also serve as a health providers and mental health specialists. GAO found that Bureau of Prison inmates with serious mental illness as opposed to inmates without serious mental illness were incarcerated nearly twice as much for sex offenses, robbery, homicide, and aggravated assault. This is not fair to our law enforcement or our valuable community resources. Instead, we need to work on increasing partnerships with our local law enforcement.” 

Full Testimony