I recently spent three days on the U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma, Arizona with members of the House Judiciary Committee.
Having visited the southern border twice in the past, I have first-hand testimony that President Joe Biden’s border policies are having a devastating impact on law enforcement, border agents, and entire communities in Arizona and across the country. I saw and heard
The failure of the Biden administration to confront or even acknowledge record levels of illegal immigration has turned every town into a border town.
Virginia and its 6th congressional district have not been immune to the effects of this inaction, witnessing a surge in fatal fentanyl overdoses, an increase in human trafficking, and a strain on the goods and services offered to residents. I’ve been
Our first stop was a nighttime tour on the Cocopa Indian Reservation in San Luis, Arizona, going to the Morelos Dam Sector on the border with a large gap in the border wall.
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In fact, after we left at night, we were told that over 200 illegal immigrants were waiting to cross the border in the area.
On the second day of our visit, we held field hearings with local law enforcement and community members who are witnessing the daily impact of this crisis.
Sheriffs like Yuma County Sheriff Wilmot talked about the dangers of cartels smuggling fentanyl and illegal drugs into the country, confirming what we already knew.
Since October, 169,000 pounds of drugs have been seized at the southern border. In January he had 1,400 pounds of fentanyl seized, and for the seventh straight month he had more than 1,000 pounds of fentanyl found by border agents. I applaud their efforts, but the scary fact is that drugs are flowing throughout the 6th District and Virginia.
From Roanoke, Virginia to Los Angeles, California, American families have lost loved ones to deadly fentanyl trafficking by cartels in our communities.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among adults aged 18-45 in Virginia, and fentanyl is responsible for more than three-quarters of these deaths. Furthermore, according to the Virginia Department of Health, fatal opioid overdoses increased by about 260% in the past decade from 2011 to 2021, and by 2020, three-quarters of overdoses will be caused by fentanyl. Consider what caused it. In 2021, Virginia will see a 15% increase in overdoses from 2020, with fentanyl accounting for 76.4% of overdoses and 2,700 Virginians dying.
The smuggling is happening close to home, as a fentanyl smuggler in Abingdon was recently caught distributing 30,000 “compressed” fentanyl tablets. Law enforcement officers in Morgantown, West Virginia, have seized a “mass” of rainbow-colored fentanyl pills targeting children.
But the drug epidemic is not the only danger. Border crises also add to the human trafficking nightmare. This horrific and disturbing practice forces sex slaves, escort services and illegal massage businesses as a form of compensation to the cartels that have led mostly young women and children into perilous journeys. Sources tracking human trafficking estimate that there are approximately 14,000 human trafficking victims within the Commonwealth, including those transported on the roads that connect us, such as Interstate 81.
Virginia has five “sanctuary cities” with 270,000 suspected illegal immigrants, and even basic goods and services are affected by the crisis. The influx of illegal immigrants is straining Virginia taxpayer-funded services like schools, transportation, and law enforcement. The quality of medical care is also affected because illegal immigrants use emergency room services instead of primary care, putting Virginians at risk.
Increasingly, the effects of the crisis on our southern border reach into our own backyards. Rest assured, I am doing everything in my power to slow the tide of this crisis and restore the rule of law.
The bad news is that one million more illegal immigrants crossed the border this fiscal year alone. The good news is that the new Republican majority in the US House of Representatives has brought transparency to the failed policies and leadership of the Biden administration that caused this disaster.
We must secure our borders now for Virginia’s 6th congressional district and for Americans across the country.
Congressman Ben Klein represents Virginia’s 6th congressional district. Previously, he was a private attorney and served as both a deputy prosecutor and a member of the Virginia House of Representatives.