House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Thursday slammed President Biden for allowing deadly drugs like fentanyl to come across the border and kill hundreds of Americans every day.
The California Republican hosted a press conference from the southern border to call for greater security to end the flow of powerful narcotics along the border.
“Today more than 300 Americans will be poisoned and die from fentanyl. You’re looking at a place that much of it comes through,” McCarthy said at the US-Mexico border in Arizona. “Tomorrow, there will be 300 more. That’s the equivalent of an airline [sic] crashing. If an airline [sic] crashed in America every single day, by the third day the entire nation would wake up and say we need to fix the problem.”
“But I promise you this, the new majority in Congress — we’re going to fight to fix this problem,” he added.
Earlier in the day, McCarthy and a delegation of freshman House Republicans took an aerial tour of the Tucson, Arizona, section of the border with US Customs and Border Protection. The trip was his first visit to the southern border as speaker of the House.
He was joined by four freshman members of the House: Reps. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.), Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.), Jen Kiggans (R-Va.) and Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.).
McCarthy said Republicans will take concrete actions to secure the border unlike the Biden administration, which he said has left the crossing vulnerable since taking over the White House.
“When you look at the gaps in the [border] wall, why are they there? … Because we got a new president that said to stop it,” he said referring to former President Trump’s infamous border wall.
“Why are they having border patrol agents becoming processing agents?… So more drugs come into America that kill Americans — that has got to stop.”
McCarthy added that drug cartels see the Biden administration’s lax policies and have taken advantage of them.
“They know exactly who’s coming across and who’s entering,” McCarthy said.
Ciscomani, who represents Arizona’s border communities, said the fentanyl coming into the country is destroying the American dream.
“As an immigrant myself — my family immigrated to this country as well — we know about the fight of the American dream, and this fentanyl crisis is directly impacting and literally killing that American dream for hundreds of thousands of Americans in this country,” he said. “And we need to stop that.”
The freshman lawmaker said the issue of border control and safety is a federal one that the federal government needs to “step up” and solve.
“When you talk to a border patrol agent and they tell you that they cannot apply the current laws, that they’re not being able [sic] to enforce them because of direction from the top, that’s a problem,” Ciscomani said.
Kiggans, who came down from Virginia, also doubted the Biden administration’s ability to secure the southern border.
“We’re seeing a border right now that is weak, that is inviting illegal immigrants to come across and it’s putting our families at risk,” she said.”
Kiggans also noted that national security is not a Republican or Democrat issue, but one all Americans should care about.
“I see an administration that’s not focused on strength, it’s focused on weakness and our enemies are watching and I’m worried that our enemies are not fearing us anymore and that our friends aren’t trusting us anymore,” she said.
The Republicans’ trip comes as border crossings were down 42% between December and January after the controversial Title 42 measure was expanded to include barring citizens of Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Venezuela from entering the US at the southern border to claim asylum. Citizens of those countries are instead expelled to Mexico.
Biden, who visited the border for the first time since assuming office in January, slammed McCarthy’s trip as a mere photo op.
“House Republicans should spend less time on partisan publicity stunts and more time working on solutions,” White House spokesperson Ian Sams said earlier Thursday. “Solutions are what President Biden is focused on, and his plan is working. House Republicans would be wise to join him to work together to strengthen our immigration system and fund border security.”
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