Sheriff: Border Enforcement Is Best Way To Stop Drug Problems In Local Communities

REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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A Wisconsin sheriff said before a senate committee Wednesday that border security enforcement is the most effective way to deter drug-related problems in local communities.

“One of the things that concern me that we focus our attention in the community, and ignore what’s happening at the border,” Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson said before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. “It makes no sense to me to have someone working at home plate and no one working around the diamond trying to help us control the influx of controlled substances.”

The Senate committee was holding a hearing on the “effects of border insecurity and lax immigration enforcement on American communities,” and the sheriff focused his testimony on the consequences an open border has on non-border area communities.

“If we can seize large quantities at the border,that’s going to, in my opinion, have more impact in the local communities,” Severson said. Waukesha County has nearly 400,000 residents and is situated directly west of Milwaukee County.

“The lion’s share of the controlled substances consumed in southeast Wisconsin is sourced from south of the border. Heroin and opiate pharmaceuticals have been the chief drug threat in Wisconsin,” Sheriff Severson testified. “Heroin consumed in my community was transported through the southern border, in its entirety.” (RELATED: Heroin Overdoses In US Surge 25 Percent Since 2010)

The sheriff said that in meetings with border sheriffs and other law enforcement officals around the country he found, “we’re at our wits end that we are going to continue to sit and look at the border and watch this continue.”

The Wisconsin sheriff went on to say that methamphetamine is also a growing drug threat and “95 percent of methamphetamine in Wisconsin comes from Mexico.”

“The drug public health crisis is not limited to border communities or major cities alone. In the last 10 years my county has lost 387 of our citizens due to controlled substance overdose deaths. Last year alone we experienced over 35 drug related deaths. One third of that total involved heroin,” Severson added. “Fentanyl, an adulterant often added to heroin, has increased the lethality of heroin. We now see Fentanyl as yet another illicit drug entering the U.S. through the southern border.”

Much of what the Wisconsin sheriff called for to address these issues was addressed in an executive order by President Trump weeks ago. This includes the securing of the nation’s border and increased hiring of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection officers.

Severson said, “Greater security at our nation’s borders means fewer law enforcement challenges to non-border communities.”