A mother who lost her two sons to fentanyl called out Democratic lawmakers for not acting to secure the border during a House Homeland Security hearing Tuesday.
Rebecca Kiesling testified as she fought through tears to tell the stories of her sons, Caleb and Kyler, and warn of the dangers of fentanyl coming across the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 100,000 overdose deaths occurred in 2021, roughly 70% of which were caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (RELATED: Number Of Troops Dying From Fentanyl More Than Doubles)
“You talk about welcoming those coming across our border, seeking protection. You’re welcoming drug dealers across our border. You’re giving them protection, you’re not protecting our children,” Kiesling said after the committee’s Democratic ranking member, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, testified that Democrats are working to better legal pathways for migrants to enter the country legally.
Illicit fentanyl is manufactured in drug labs operated by cartels in Mexico using chemicals made in China, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized more than 14,000 pounds of fentanyl at the southern border in fiscal year 2022 alone and more than 8,000 pounds of the drug between October 2022 and January 2023.
Caleb was 20 and Kyler was 18 when they lost their lives in 2020 to fentanyl that came from Mexico, Kiesling said. Sophia Harris, who was 17, also died alongside the two young boys.
“Law enforcement made it clear to me that this fentanyl came from Mexico, came from our Southern border. I didn’t know what fentanyl was, I didn’t know what Narcan was,” Kiesling said.
“I didn’t know that people were dying, I didn’t know that my boys were taking anything that could kill them, they didn’t think that they were either. They thought that they were safe with pills,” Kiesling added.
The DEA considers a lethal dose of fentanyl to be just about 2 milligrams.
“But the government knew, the government’s known for years and years,” Kiesling said.
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