The Border, Drugs and People - and Silence
Recently, we were subjected to the sham of a Thomas Kean Jr “Town Hall.” It was a phantom phone-in, with no information provided before the event about how to join. Surprise, surprise, the polling of attendees provided - no surprises. So 96% of these carefully curated attendees voted “yes” to the question “do you think the federal government should take greater measures to secure our borders, cutting off the flow of deadly drugs such as fentanyl into our communities?”
Look, fentanyl is a national crisis. Noone should underestimate its importance in the slide in American life expectancy that has developed over the last few years. But our Congressman, quite intentionally, muddles two issues. The first is how we should attack the supply of fentanyl, and the second is how we should respond to the flow of asylum seekers at our borders
Trump legitimized the demonization of those seeking refuge at our borders on the day that he descended the escalator in Trump Tower. He in turn was echoing the racist statements made by those such as Congressman Steve King, comments that have fueled the belief of 39% of Americans and 60% of Republicans that “most of the fentanyl entering the U.S. is smuggled in by unauthorized migrants crossing the border illegally.”
That is not how fentanyl arrives in our towns and cities. The drug, manufactured by Mexican cartels from ingredients supplied by China, crosses the border, almost always passing through official checkpoints hidden in cars or commercial trucks driven by American citizens. US citizens are subject to far less scrutiny, and so they are the smugglers of choice for the cartels. The hard truth is that fentanyl is so cheap, so easy to make, so profitable, and so hard to detect, that we will never stop the flow. We need to do the hard work of tackling the demand side of a crisis manufactured right here, in the United States. The War on Drugs is not an overseas battle; it will be won and lost here on our home soil. What are YOU going to do to help, Congressman?
If Congressman Kean really wants to do something about the flow of migrants into the country, he should persuade his colleagues on the Problem Solvers Caucus to look at the bipartisan proposal put forward in 2013. It passed the Senate with a 68-32 majority, only to be stifled in the House by Republican speaker John Boehner, who knew that it would pass with a bipartisan majority - and infuriate his right wing. It would have increased border security by adding 40,000 border patrol agents; and by constructing a double layer fence to meet a target of stopping 90% of illegal border crossings. All that, AND a reduction in the deficit of $700 billion by 2033. THAT, Congressman, is what a bipartisan solution would have looked like. Try getting that past your friend Marjorie Taylor Greene today.
Do the hard work of governing, Congressman. Slick promises don’t solve anything.