Rep. DesJarlais Presents House Version of Bill Authorizing Use of Title 42 to Stop Drug Trafficking

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FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., introduced the House version of a bill that would allow the Title 42 public health order — which the Biden administration is set to lift — to be used to prevent the smuggling of drugs into the United States via the southern border.

Title 42 was implemented by the Trump administration in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is a public health order to be used to prevent communicable diseases, it has become central border policy for the Trump and Biden administrations.

HAGERTY INTRODUCES BILL TO USE TITLE 42 TO PROTECT US FROM DRUG TRAFFICKING

The border fence is seen, in Yuma, Arizona, U.S., January 22, 2022. REUTERS/Go Nakamura

Now, with the end of pandemic restrictions across the country, the Biden administration announced on Friday that it would end Title 42 on May 23 – raising fears that the already high number of migrants coming to the southern border could increase in the coming months. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz recently said the United States was on track to have encountered one million migrants in the first six months of fiscal year 2022.

“After reviewing current public health conditions and increased availability of tools to combat COVID-19 (such as highly effective vaccines and treatments), the CDC Director has determined that an order suspending the right to ‘Bringing migrants into the United States is no longer necessary,’ the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO LIFT TITLE 42 AT END OF MAY, DESPITE FEAR OF IMPENDING MIGRANT WAVE

The legislation, first introduced by Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., in the Senate, would add an additional circumstance in which Title 42 can be used — to prevent the smuggling of illicit drugs into the United States.

DesJarlais and Hagerty pointed to the flow of opioids, particularly fentanyl, entering through the southern border after being produced in Mexico after being produced with precursors from China.

“It’s a significant issue because we’ve seen record numbers crossing our borders and it’s been slowed down because of Title 42, but the opioid epidemic is killing about 100,000 people a year,” DesJarlais told Fox. News Digital in an interview.

“To put that into perspective, that’s as many people in a year that we’ve lost to drug overdoses as we have to combat casualties going back to the Korean War, so that should definitely be seen as a public health emergency, and it puts a tool in the arsenal of our Border Patrol agents to stem the unprecedented flow of illegals across the southern border.”

The legislation authorizes the use of Title 42 when it is determined that “due to the existence of a substantial illicit traffic in drugs from a foreign country, there is a serious danger of the introduction of such drugs in the United States, and that this danger is thereby increased by the introduction of persons and property…”

REPUBLICAN STATES SUIT TO STOP LIFT OF TITLE 42 BORDER POLICY BY BIDEN ADMINISTRATION

DesJarlais, himself a doctor, said daily opioid deaths across the country now exceed deaths from COVID-19, and he’s killing Americans as cartels include fentanyl in their supplies of other drugs , including marijuana.

“It’s such a dangerous drug because it’s so potent, it’s 60 to 100 times more potent than morphine which is dangerous when misused, but it’s disguised by the cartels as other drugs and added and derivatives are made which can be dangerous and unpredictable,” he said.

The legislation is one of several steps Republicans have taken to push back against the Biden administration’s plans to end Title 42. But DesJarlais noted that a number of Democrats, including those in border states, have also sounded the alarm about this decision. and said it should be a bipartisan issue.

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“I just have a hard time understanding why Democrats, Republicans, anyone who would want to allow such a generous system of allowing a million each year to emigrate here legally would turn a blind eye to letting another million in, especially when you know that there’s crime, sex trafficking and … drug trafficking coming in and killing Americans,” he said. “So this shouldn’t be a partisan issue, it’s a matter of national security.”

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