March 22, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) gave remarks on the Senate floor sharing his concern for the American lives being lost to deadly fentanyl coming across our Southern border.
“If addressing this crisis isn’t our job in the United States Senate, I don’t know what is,” Senator Ricketts said during his remarks. “American and Nebraskan lives are on the line. We need to give Border Patrol what they need to fully enforce our laws and stop this influx of deadly drugs. Our constituents are counting on us. We need to take action.”
In his remarks, Ricketts shared the story of Nebraskan Taryn Lee Griffith, who lost her life to a fentanyl overdose in 2021. He also highlighted the work of Nebraska law enforcement who have stepped up amid the ongoing border crisis to get deadly drugs off the street.
Read Ricketts’ full remarks below and watch his remarks HERE.
“My colleagues and I are here today to raise the alarm – once again – about the ongoing crisis at our borders.
“This is an issue that is incredibly important to my constituents, and it should be a priority here in the United States Senate.
“As I said when I visited the border as a governor, and then again last month as a senator, every state is a border state. It’s not just me saying that, its my colleagues both as governors and as United States senators saying that.
“That’s because states across the country, including my own state of Nebraska, are dealing with the consequences of this administration failing to secure our border.
“This crisis is a threat to all Americans for many reasons.
“Americans are being killed today because of what is going on at the border.
“The leading cause of death for Americans age 18-45 in 2020 and 2021 was fentanyl overdoses.
“A majority of those drugs are coming to this country from overseas.
“Taryn Lee Griffith was a 24-year-old single mom that died in Nebraska. She died of a fentanyl overdose.
“She was out with friends and took a pill she thought was Percocet. It was laced with fentanyl, and that’s what killed her.
“Taryn’s youngest daughter was only 6 months old when this happened.
“Now her two daughters are going to have to learn about their mom through pictures and stories from family.
“I think we all agree, that fentanyl is a scourge on this country.
“From 2014 to 2019, fentanyl mostly entered this country from overseas – being shipped internationally mail directly from The People’s Republic of China.
“Now it’s being shipped from the PRC to Mexico.
“There it’s manufactured in illegal labs, and smuggled across our border.
“The Chinese Communist Party and the Mexican drug cartels are taking advantage of the fact that we have weak border to surge the flow of illegal drugs, especially fentanyl, across our U.S. border.
“They have the blood of the Americans who have died on their hands because of this, and we must hold them accountable.
“With border agents and local law enforcement overwhelmed by the surge of illegal immigration, it’s easier than ever for these cartels to be able to bring fentanyl into the United States.
“Because of this failed administration’s policies, state law enforcement has been forced to step up.
“In my last two years of Governor in Nebraska, we saw what happened compared to 2020. The State Patrol confiscated two times as much methamphetamine, three times as much fentanyl, and ten times as much cocaine.
“Last year alone, the DEA’s Division in Omaha seized 4.7 million lethal doses of fentanyl.
“This administration’s abandonment of its responsibility is an outrage.
“It’s endangering American lives each and every day.
“And yet, the president has not shown he is serious about tackling this problem.
“His budget requested $535 million for border security technology.
“Yet he wants to spend 7 times that much – a whopping $3.9 BILLION dollars – on the Department of Homeland Security’s “Climate Resilience” program.
“Mister President, these are misplaced priorities.
“I want to take care of the environment, we all do. I want us to be more resilient.
“But Americans are dying right now because of the fentanyl coming across our border.
“Now, the President may not be serious about securing our border, but my colleagues and I are.
“When I was governor, I worked with my fellow governors to propose real solutions to this administration.
“And I’m eager to work with my colleagues here in the U.S. Senate to do the same.
“If addressing this crisis isn’t our job in the United States Senate, I don’t know what is.
“Americans and Nebraskans are on the line.
“We need to give Border Patrol what they need to fully enforce our laws and stop this influx of deadly drugs.
‘Our constituents are counting on us. We need to take action.
“I urge all my colleagues to work with our conference to pass serious solutions to tackle this problem.
“And with that, thank you, Mister President. I yield back.”
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