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Weekly Column: Biden Administration's Lax Border Policies Have Opened The Floodgates Inundating Idaho Law Enforcement

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch

The Biden Administration’s “catch and release” and porous border policies give drug cartels easy access to distribute deadly drugs, traffic unsuspecting victims, and leave a wake of violence in our neighborhoods.  We must secure our border immediately.  

The Biden Administration’s border policies have opened the floodgates: 



  • The CBP’s news releases should set off alarms.  For example, CBP reported in August that Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) Border Patrol agents “encountered more than 130 large groups of adults and unaccompanied children illegally entering the United States since October 2021, resulting in more than 21,000 migrant apprehensions.”    


  • Also, in August, CBP officers from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in California found more than 12 million dollars worth of narcotics concealed within a shipment of heavy machinery.  The seizure included  41.75 pounds of fentanyl, enough to kill over 9 million people


These figures are only a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands of people and pounds of illegal drugs entering the U.S. through our southern border.  

The Biden Administration’s lax border policies have led to this dangerous and lethal influx of fentanyl and drug trafficking which has hit communities across Idaho and our country.  Fentanyl has been a primary driver in the serious increase in drug crimes in Idaho, as the amount of fentanyl seized at the U.S. southern border rises steadily.  In eastern Idaho alone, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and Idaho Falls Police Department report fentanyl is the leading means of drug-related deaths and overdoses, yet the Biden Administration denied a request to add Bonneville County to the Oregon-Idaho High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area designation.  The designation would provide additional training and resources to help Idaho communities deal with this crisis.  

We have consistently supported Idaho law enforcement’s efforts to remove these drugs from our streets, taking a number of actions calling on the Biden Administration to act appropriately, including: 

  • Senator Risch’s introduction of the Solving the Border Crisis Act to implement commonsense solutions to secure the border and stop this disaster from getting worse;


  • Co-sponsoring legislation to close the “catch and release” loophole which requires immigration authorities to release back into the United States illegal aliens who have not been accepted for deportation to other countries after being detained for six months;


  • Co-sponsoring the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossing Act, which would expand Title 42 to restrict migration and imports to prevent the introduction of illicit drugs into the United States; and more.


A remarkable 22 percent of CBP’s encounters along the southwest land border in August involved individuals who had at least one prior encounter in the previous year.  That says illegal immigrants do not seem to be worried about the consequences of breaking our border laws.  The Biden Administration’s lenient border policies have clearly sent a dangerous message.  We commend Idaho’s law enforcement for facing difficult situations, including the danger of exposure to illegally produced fentanyl.  We are grateful to the hard-working Idahoans who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe.  And, our thoughts are with those who have lost a family member or loved one to a drug overdose.  We will continue to push the Biden Administration to secure our borders and back Idaho law enforcement.


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