WASHINGTON, DC: This week, Congresswoman Jen Kiggans (VA-02) traveled to the Tucson Sector of the southern border and met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, local law enforcement, residents, and community leaders to learn firsthand about the challenges they are facing due to the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis. The Congresswoman, along with Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (CA-20), Congressman Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06), Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05), and Congressman Derrick Van Orden (WI-03), also received a security briefing about and aerial tour of the Tucson Sector from CBP agents.
“What I saw here at the border, what the law enforcement officers and local residents told me, was both heartbreaking and terrifying…from fentanyl poisoning their kids to the cartels terrorizing their streets,” said Congresswoman Kiggans. “Our weak southern border has put our national security at risk, as well as our communities, our families, and those wishing to come here for a better life. If we want to solve this crisis, we have to see the problems for ourselves, meet with people on the ground, and truly understand the complex challenges they’re facing. That’s where we start – that’s the foundation on which we can effectively work toward a solution.”
Congresswoman Kiggans also raised concerns about how the record-breaking amount of fentanyl coming across the southwest border is contributing to an increase in overdoses across the country, including among America’s active-duty service members. According to the Pentagon, from 2017 to 2021, 15,293 service members overdosed on drugs and alcohol and 332 died. More than half of those who died had taken fentanyl. In the first three months of this fiscal year alone, CBP has seized over 9,000 pounds of fentanyl coming across the Southwest border – enough to kill over 6.4 times the U.S. population.
“Far too many families have had their loved ones die from fentanyl overdoses that could have been prevented by a secure border, including our servicemembers,” the Congresswoman continued. “Fentanyl is a weapons-grade poison and last year, it was involved in 88% of all servicemember overdose deaths. Now it’s the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45. We need to give our law enforcement officers the resources and tools they need to defend our borders and tackle the threat fentanyl poses to our families and our national security.”
Congresswoman Kiggans also participated in a press conference at the border to discuss her meetings with law enforcement and local residents who are being impacted by the crisis. You can view her remarks here.