With Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador heading to the White House next month to meet with President Joe Biden, Republicans are calling for combating the flow of fentanyl into the United States to be at the top of the agenda.
Lopez Obrador skipped the Summit of the Americas earlier this month, saying instead he will travel to the White House in July to meet with President Biden.
Republicans think fentanyl should be Biden’s first topic of conversation.
“If I were looking at an agenda that I think would be appropriate for that meeting, fentanyl would be at the very top of the list,” Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., said in an interview with Fox News Digital. “Human trafficking would come right after that — border security and national security issues that we share with Mexico.”
“It would be the first thing I would bring up,” added Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas. “And I wouldn’t be talking about much else besides, ‘What are you going to do for the United States of America with respect to knocking the knees out from under cartels and stopping the flow of, not just fentanyl, but the illegal traffic and human traffic coming into the United States, which is emboldening the cartels and allowing them to bring fentanyl in?’ We have dead Americans directly as a consequence of what Mexico is allowing [the cartels] to do.”
Southern border seizures of the drug, which is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and can be fatal in tiny amounts, have soared in recent years. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 10,586 pounds of the drug in FY 2021. That is up from 4,558 pounds seized in FY 2020 and 2,633 pounds seized in FY 2019.
As of May, the CBP has seized more than 7,000 pounds of the drug in the fiscal year 2022, suggesting it is on track to exceed last year’s massive numbers. While the seizures of the drug reflect success in apprehending the drug by agents, it also raises the possibility that — amid a massive surge in activity at the border since President Biden took office — a large amount is also getting past agents.
Rep. John Katko, the ranking Republican member on the House Homeland Security Committee, was one of a number of Republicans calling for it to be addressed at the meeting between the two leaders, telling Fox News Digital in a statement that the U.S. “will not get a handle on the fentanyl pouring into the country unless Mexico comes to the table.”