March 24, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column:
Securing Our Southern Border

March 24, 2023

Recently, Senator Fischer and I returned from an oversight visit of the southern border. We heard directly from Border Patrol personnel about the challenges they currently face and the lack of support they’ve received from the Biden administration. This disorder caused by the president’s inaction has made every state, including Nebraska, a border state.

The statistics show that we are living in the worst border crisis on record. More than 1,400 lbs of fentanyl and nearly 10,000 lbs of methamphetamine were seized at the southern border in January. In my last year as Governor, the Nebraska State Patrol confiscated two times as much methamphetamine, three times as much fentanyl, and ten times as much cocaine as just two years prior.

In addition, 156,274 illegal immigrants were apprehended trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in January 2023 – the highest January total in 22 years. Nearly 6 million illegal immigrants have crossed the border since Joe Biden became President. That’s 3 times the size the entire state of Nebraska in just over 2 years!

Sadly, this administration’s failure to secure our border continues to have tragic consequences in Nebraska and across our country. The leading cause of death for people aged 18-45 in 2020 and 2021 was fentanyl overdoses. A majority of those drugs are coming across our borders. It is a scourge on our country, our states, and our communities.

Most fentanyl is being shipped from the People’s Republic of China to Mexico. There it’s manufactured into pills in illegal labs, and smuggled across our border. The Chinese Communist Party and Mexican cartels have taken advantage of our weak border to surge the flow of fentanyl to the U.S. They have the blood of Americans who have died from these drugs on their hands and they need to be held accountable.

Taryn Lee Griffith was a 24-year-old single mom from Nebraska who died in 2021 of a fentanyl overdose. Taryn took a pill she thought was Percocet. Instead, it was a counterfeit laced with fentanyl and it killed her. It should have never happened, and now her daughters will have to get to know their mom through pictures and stories from family.

Tragically, President Biden’s budget request for 2024 shows that he is not serious about ending this crisis. He’s asked Congress for $535 million for border technology, but that pales in comparison to the $3.9 billion dollars he’s asking for the Department of Homeland Security’s “Climate Resilience Programs.” Think about that – President Biden believes we need seven times the money for climate resilience at Homeland Security than we do for the technology our Border Patrol officers rely on. Those are misplaced priorities at a time when Americans continue to die from fentanyl coming across our border.

The President might not be serious about border security, but my colleagues and I are. When I was governor, I worked with my fellow governors to propose real solutions to the administration. We need to give Border Patrol what they need to fully enforce our laws and stop this influx of deadly drugs. We need to take action. In the U.S. Senate, I stand ready to work with my colleagues and to pass serious solutions to engage this crisis. The lives of Americans and Nebraskans are on the line.

Along with Senator Deb Fischer and the rest of my colleagues in the Nebraska delegation, my team and I are here to serve you. Contact my team and I anytime by phone at 202-224-4224, on my website www.ricketts.senate.gov, or via email contactricke@ricketts.senate.gov. I am honored to serve our great state and will continue to work to protect the Good Life from Washington overreach.