Hundreds of drug trafficking tunnels exist on the US-Mexico border – here’s how we close them
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Border security is national security. Over the past thirty years, law enforcement officials have uncovered more than 230 cross-border tunnels used to smuggle drugs, weapons, and even people under the Mexico-US border, and there are probably many more to discover.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed my bill, the DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act, to finally seal them.
Since President Biden took office in January 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has recorded more than 2.2 million encounters with migrants along the southeastern border. Where is.
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Due to the large number of migrants crossing the border, CBP personnel, particularly U.S. Border Patrol agents, are often diverted from their essential work processing migrants, most of whom have illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border between entry points. With Border Patrol agents busy with other duties and not patrolling the border, our southwestern border security has been crippled and the cartels are taking full advantage.
In addition to the record number of migrant encounters, CBP has interdicted increasing amounts of illegal narcotics, particularly methamphetamine, fentanyl and other fentanyl-containing drugs along the border.
Last year, the United States reached a tragic record of more than 105,000 drug overdose deaths over a one-year period – the highest number of drug overdose deaths ever recorded in the United States.
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Additionally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl is now the leading cause of death among Americans between the ages of 18 and 45. This means fentanyl has killed nearly twice as many people as COVID-19, car crashes, cancer and suicide.
Mexico is the main source of fentanyl and synthetic opioids entering the United States. Of course, smuggling drugs across the border carries the risk that the packages will be seized by our border law enforcement agencies.
To minimize this risk, in 1989 the Sinaloa Cartel built the first-ever “narco” tunnel. Back then, narco tunnels were short and unsophisticated.
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Over time, the cartels learned from previous mistakes and began building longer, more sophisticated tunnels – complete with lights, ventilation systems and railroad cars – to facilitate the movement of drugs and drugs. other illicit goods such as people, bulk money and weapons.
CBP’s tunnel technology program has matured over several years. Led by the US Border Patrol, this program tests and acquires technologies that can do three essential things: predict the location of tunnels, detect and project the path of tunnels, and confirm the existence and location of a tunnel thanks to mapping and measurements.
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As CBP develops enhanced capabilities that will enable the detection of tunnels along the border, the drug cartels have grown bolder, creating more elaborate and harder-to-detect tunnel systems. Without this essential legislation, CBP lacks the ability to expand tunnel interdiction and remediation operations.
The DHS Illicit Cross-Border Tunnel Defense Act addresses this issue by requiring CBP to develop a counter-tunnel operations plan that would address risk-based criteria for denying and remediating illicit cross-border tunnels, sharing processes information on illicit tunnels, key tunnel construction indicators to train field staff, and an assessment of technology and personnel needs. Additionally, this legislation would authorize funds for CBP for tunnel interdiction and remediation operations.
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With increasing illicit border activity both above and below ground, CBP needs resources to combat illicit cross-border tunnels to secure our homeland and protect our national security. Passing this legislation will increase the security of our nation by disrupting and dismantling cartel smuggling operations and protecting American communities from the tastes of illegal narcotics such as fentanyl.
It’s a good step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go in the fight to secure our border. I am proud to see this bill passed in the House, and I will continue to champion this effort until it passes into law.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT REP. AUGUST PLUGER