Report Confirms What Senator Hassan Heard from Customs and Border Protection and DEA Agents On the Ground During Her Visit to the U.S.-Mexico Border Last Week
WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan released the following statement on a new report from Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) showing that the amount of illicit fentanyl seized by the Department of Homeland Security has increased dramatically, and that the overwhelming majority of fentanyl seizures along the border are occurring at ports of entry. Senator McCaskill is the ranking Democratic member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on which Senator Hassan also serves.
Ports of entry are official locations where people and goods enter the U.S.— they can include airports, sea ports, and land border crossings. At all these locations, people and goods are inspected by Customs and Border Protection Officers (Port Officers) in order to combat drug trafficking, terrorism, and other threats. Despite the important role that Port Officers play in securing the border, Customs and Border Protection does not employ enough Port Officers to fully staff all ports of entry.
“The trafficking of illicit drugs like fentanyl across the southern border from Mexico is exacerbating the devastating opioid crisis that is taking lives every day – and this report reinforces what I saw on the ground at the southern border last week,” Senator Hassan said. “During my trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, Customs and Border Protection agents in El Paso and McAllen, Texas made clear that they need additional personnel, upgraded facilities, and more advanced technology to help detect, intercept, and halt the flow of fentanyl and other illicit drugs across the border. While we know that we cannot simply enforce our way out of this crisis, it is critical that we continue working to ensure that our dedicated law enforcement personnel have the support they need to keep our communities healthy and safe while we also work to strengthen treatment, prevention, and recovery efforts.”
Last week, Senator Hassan traveled to the U.S-Mexico border, where she evaluated firsthand the efforts underway to combat the trafficking of illicit drugs, such as fentanyl, that make their way to New Hampshire and communities across the country. Shortly before Senator Hassan arrived for a briefing at a Juarez-El Paso port of entry, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized a large amount of illicit substances from a vehicle (photo here). At another stop, the Senator was briefed by CBP officers in McAllen, Texas on the technology they use to detect fentanyl at the border (photo here).