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Sunday Talk: Grassley’s New Year’s Resolution on Border Security

Q: Why are you calling on the Biden administration to make border security its New Year’s resolution?

A: President Biden is putting the sovereignty of the United States of America in peril by refusing to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and failing to secure the border. On Biden’s watch, illegal migration is leading to preventable death and suffering as historic numbers of people are illegally crossing the southern border, falling victim to ruthless human smuggling operations and causing humanitarian crises in border communities that also are reaching into the interior United States. In December, a U.S. border patrol agent was killed on the job. His death can be tied to this administration’s open border policies. In fact, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more than 850 migrants have died in 2022, making it the deadliest year on record at the southern border. From extreme heat and cold exposure to drownings and treacherous terrain, sexual assault or abuse also takes place along the dangerous trek to the U.S. border. What’s more, U.S. border patrol has apprehended at least 98 individuals on the terrorism watch list attempting to cross the border. To be clear, that’s how many people have been apprehended. We have no way to know how many on the watch list slipped into our country undetected. On top of the clear risk to national security, the Biden administration’s border policies are allowing Mexican drug cartels to rule the roost along our southern border. And that has created grievous harm to the social fabric of America. The drug crisis is ripping through communities, destroying families and stealing the lives of the next generation. The border crisis is an existential threat to our country.

Q: How many overdose deaths will it take to get the administration’s attention?

A: That’s a sobering question that demands an answer from the president of the United States. More than 71,000 Americans died in 2022 from illicit fentanyl that made its way into the homes and bodies of sons, daughters and siblings in communities across the country. Every day, 196 Americans die from fentanyl poisoning. That’s roughly one death every seven minutes. And until the Biden administration wakes up and stops the chaos and crisis at our border, we will lose another 196 American lives tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. Record overdose deaths have delivered an immeasurable emotional toll on grieving families, taxed our health care and criminal justice systems and cost tens of billions of dollars to the economy in lost productivity. During the 117th Congress, I’ve worked to deliver help to Iowa families and communities suffering from the opioid crisis. I’m glad my bipartisan, bicameral bill was signed into law in December to beef up resources for communities in Rural America impacted by opioid addiction and abuse. The Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act, led by Rep. Randy Feenstra in the House of Representatives, will deliver urgently needed help for rural communities with a high level of opioid overdoses for a better, more effective response from local governments and organizations.


With the opioid crisis showing no end in sight, it’s inconceivable the Biden administration considers the record flow of illegal immigration as a process to be managed, rather than a crisis to be stopped. The historic overdose deaths in America present a chilling truth. The Drug Enforcement Administration reported it has seized more than 379 million potentially fatal doses of illegal fentanyl in 2022, enough to kill every single person in the United States. So far this year, the federal agency confiscated more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder and more than 50 million pills. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 14,000 pounds of illegal fentanyl in fiscal year 2022 along the southern border. Although it is good news that tens of thousands of pounds of this poison and tens of millions of pills are off the street, these federal seizures are just the tip of the iceberg. Federal authorities estimate they are detecting only five to 10 percent at best. In the meantime, Mexican drug cartels are flooding our communities with cheap synthetic opioids that are killing a generation of Americans. Illegal fentanyl is the leading cause of death for Americans age 18 to 49. And that is why I’m begging the Biden administration to make border security its #1 New Year’s resolution. Let’s ring in the New Year with a commitment to stop the humanitarian and drug trafficking crises at our border once and for all.


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