GOP Senators Reintroduce Plan to Fight Fentanyl Crisis with Title 42: ‘Innocent American Lives Hang in the Balance’

By John Binder

A group of Republican Senators, led by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN), have reintroduced a plan to fight the nation’s deadly fentanyl crisis by preserving the public health authority known as Title 42 at the United States-Mexico border.

In 2020, in the midst of the Chinese coronavirus crisis, former President Donald Trump invoked Title 42 at the border to ensure that federal immigration officials could quickly return illegal aliens to Mexico for the sake of public health.

On May 11, though, the Biden administration is ending Title 42 — a plan that has at least 35,000 migrants waiting to rush the border in Juarez, Mexico, alone, and which could spur close to 400,000 border crossers and illegal aliens arriving monthly.

To prevent such a fiasco at the border, Blackburn and Hagerty have reintroduced their bill to keep Title 42 and use it to fight the nation’s fentanyl crisis, which is helping to kill more than 100,000 Americans annually.

“Expanding Title 42 to include drug smuggling will give U.S. Border Patrol agents a necessary tool to significantly curb this Biden-fueled crisis and keep Americans safer,” Blackburn said in a statement.

Hagerty said it is “unconscionable” for Congress to allow Title 42 to end.

“While I agree that the pandemic is over, there is a new epidemic plaguing our nation — one that demands immediate action,” Hagerty said of the fentanyl crisis:

We cannot afford to allow this shockingly-lethal drug to continue wreaking havoc on our communities and killing our youth. Congress must take up and pass this commonsense legislation without delay — too many innocent American lives hang in the balance. [Emphasis added]

Sens. Jim Risch (R-ID), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ted Budd (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Todd Young (R-IN) are co-sponsoring the bill, which must go before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Meanwhile, identical legislation in the House, sponsored by Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), is sitting before the House Energy and Commerce Committee but has not budged. A push by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could get the bill in front of Congress, putting Democrats on record, ahead of Title 42’s end.

Brandon Dunn of the Forever 15 Project told Congress in February how the Mexican drug cartels successfully kill hundreds of thousands of American citizens by smuggling fentanyl through the border.

“The current statistic is that it’s the number one killer for Americans ages 18 to 45,” Dunn, whose 15-year-old son Noah died in August 2022 after being poisoned by fentanyl, said.  “Honestly, by next year, we believe that number will drop to 15 to 45 years old. We’ve had some children as young as 13 years old die from this drug.”

Nationally, more than 100,000 Americans die every year from drug overdoses, including tiny doses of fentanyl. Put another way, the United States is losing a population the size of South Bend, Indiana, every year from drugs primarily coming across the border.