National Security

Mayorkas Says Illegal Immigration Crisis Has ‘No’ Effect On DHS’ Ability To Seize Deadly Fentanyl

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Jennie Taer Investigative Reporter
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Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed Wednesday that the surge in illegal immigration at the southern border has “no” effect on federal capabilities to seize fentanyl.

Federal border authorities are unfazed in their efforts to catch fentanyl being smuggled into the country, Mayorkas said in a livestreamed interview with The Washington Post. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered a record of more than 2.3 million migrants at the southern border in fiscal year 2022 and the surge is only on pace to worsen in fiscal year 2023, former CBP acting Commissioner Mark Morgan told the Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday. (RELATED: Biden Admin To Hike Fees On Legal Immigration To Fund Processing Of Illegal Migrants Who Claim Asylum)

“No it doesn’t,” Mayorkas said in response to a question about federal border authorities’ ability to handle both the surge in fentanyl and illegal immigrants. Only 2 milligrams of fentanyl is enough to potentially kill an adult, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“I mean we have a workforce that stays true to the mission that is tireless. We have surged personnel to the border, not only in between the ports of entry, but at the ports of entry, where we’re deploying an increasing amount of technology. We have our field officers at the ports of entry, we have our Border Patrol agents in between the ports of entry, the number of encounters does not take our eye off the ball of battling the scourge of fentanyl,” Mayorkas added.

Law enforcement officials at the border have contradicted Mayorkas’ claim, saying border authorities can’t address both issues to the best of their abilities.

“When you know you have a small contingent of Border Patrol agents that you can inundate quickly, by doing mass quantities at one time, that ties up Border Patrol’s resources so they cannot be out there,” Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot previously told the DCNF of Border Patrol’s ability to interdict smuggling attempts.

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

The large southern border illegal immigration surge in fiscal year 2022 coincided with CBP seizures of more than 14,000 pounds of fentanyl, more than triple the amount seized in fiscal year 2020. Fentanyl was largely responsible for the more than 100,000 drug-related deaths in the U.S. in fiscal year 2021, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

CBP seized 656,000 pounds of drugs during fiscal year 2022.

Law enforcement capabilities have also been stretched due to the U.S. Air Force’s recent move to quickly scrap a spy plane used to detect the cross-border drug smuggling operations, according to one expert who recently spoke with the DCNF.

“Do I think it’s going to stretch already stretched assets further? Yes,” Retired Air Force Col. Dan DeBree, a professor at Texas A&M University and former Department of Homeland Security officer, recently told the DCNF.

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