Border, fentanyl top issues at Homeland Security hearing

WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — The House Homeland Security Committee held its first hearing on the crisis at the border on Tuesday, addressing how Mexican drug cartels are fueling the fentanyl crisis.

Republicans on the committee stressed that every state has become a border state as the crisis flows into the country.

Michigan mother Rebecca Kiessling told lawmakers on Tuesday that both her sons Caleb and Tyler died after taking the synthetic opiate that came from Mexico.

“My children were taken away from me,” Kiessling said. “You’re welcoming drug dealers across our border, you’re giving them protection, you’re not protecting our children.”

Her testimony echoed House Republicans’ stance about the fentanyl crisis being a direct result of the border crisis.

“I don’t need a purple chair in my house. Congress needs a purple chair. The White House needs a purple chair. To never forget about all those who are being slaughtered. This is a war! Act like it. Do something!” Kiessling testified at Capital Hill in front of the Homeland Security Committee.

Local law enforcement in Arizona claimed the federal government isn’t being tough enough.

“The problem is we’re allowing the weak policies that we have in place here on the national level and the lack of fortitude to secure our border has created an opportunity for the cartels,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told the committee.

Committee Chair Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is to blame.

“Mayorkas was lying when he said he had operational control of the border and the fentanyl is killing Americans,” he said. “Let me be clear, Mayorkas lied and Americans are dying.”

Democrats fired back, telling Republicans to stop pointing fingers and start delivering solutions that have a shot at passing Congress.

But it has become a never-ending fight against the cartels, and for every bust made, more drugs pour into the U.S.

With the death toll from overdoses now at more than 100,000 Americans each year, drug trafficking is the deadliest criminal activity in America today, NewsNation affiliate The Hill reported.

Earlier this week, agents in the San Diego sector 75 miles inland seized 232 pounds of fentanyl — enough to kill 50 million Americans, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz tweeted. Tens of thousands of Americans are lost to overdoses every year.

Agents said this happens all the time. Migrants seeking asylum are sent across the border in one spot by the cartels as a diversion, then drugs come across the border just down the river. Law enforcement explained that the humanitarian problem needs to be solved before the drug problem can be addressed.

NewsNation affiliate Border Report contributed to this report.

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