GOP senators introduce bill to curb illegal immigration as Title 42 end looms

by Will Tubbs

Katie Kerekes, FISM News

A group of Republican senators is reintroducing legislation that would allow Title 42 public health to be used to combat the wave of illicit drugs that are pouring over the border.

Led by Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act would “add the prevention of drug smuggling as an additional justification for the use of Title 42,” according to Fox News.

As the leading cause of death among Americans 18-to-45, and now to blame for the fastest rising mortality rate among children under the age of 14, legislators warn that the fentanyl crisis remains the largest threat to Americans today.

“[Seventy thousand] Americans are dying annually from drug overdoses—most from deadly fentanyl flooding across our collapsed southern border,” Hagerty said in a statement. “With the Biden Administration pushing to end Title 42 in May, it is unconscionable for Congress to stand aside and do nothing to preserve it. 

“And while I agree that the pandemic is over, there is a new epidemic plaguing our nation—one that demands immediate action. We cannot afford to allow this shockingly-lethal drug to continue wreaking havoc on our communities and killing our youth. Congress must take up and pass this commonsense legislation without delay—too many innocent American lives hang in the balance.”

The current Title 42 order, which has been in place since March 2020, permits border agents to authorize hasty expulsion of migrants at the southern border during a public health emergency to stop the spread of communicable disease. With the public health emergency in place for COVID set to end on May 11, Title 42 will also expire.

In anticipation of this, lawmakers have expressed fears of a heightened influx of migrants at a border, which has remained in crisis since the inauguration of the current administration.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who has faced immense criticism for border mismanagement, testified in a hearing on Tuesday confirming this expectation.

“We do anticipate a surge in the number of encounters at our southern border,” Mayorkas told Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary Peters.

Conservative lawmakers maintain that current policy and process is not enough to curb the overwhelm that CBP is facing, and the flooding of fentanyl into the states is an unrivaled public health emergency which justifies Title 42 extension.

“Securing the border and quickly removing those who smuggle drugs into our country should be a top priority for the federal government,” said cosponsor Senator Ted Budd (R-N.C.). “I’m proud to support Senator Hagerty’s bill to boost border enforcement and ultimately save American lives.”

Fentanyl seizures at the southern border have increased by over 300% since 2019, with over 66% of all overdoses contributed to synthetic opioids.