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Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., on visit to southern border, warns Border Patrol agents face ‘outsized crisis’ as Biden administration moves to roll back title 42 – while emphasizing that the impacts of the crisis are felt well beyond the border states.
“It’s a crisis beyond measure,” Hagerty told Fox News Digital from Texas, where he had toured the border with a group of Tennessee mayors and sheriffs.
ARIZONA SHERIFF ‘VERY CONCERNED’ ABOUT MOVE TO END TITLE 42: ‘WE HAVE BEEN ABANDONED’
“Border agents are so overwhelmed right now that they are spending more time processing than they are doing their job defending the border,” he said. “That’s the purpose of the cartels, to distract and overwhelm Border Patrol so they can move high-value cargo – fentanyl, meth, ‘high-value’ people, that is. ones that are on the terrorism watch list, and things of that nature that would otherwise suffer terrible consequences if caught.”
Hagerty is heading to the border just as the Biden administration announced on Friday it was ending the use of the Title 42 public health order to rapidly deport migrants at the southern border in May. The order was implemented by the Trump administration in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020 and has since been used by the Trump and Biden administrations to deport a majority of migrants at the border.
Although it is a public health order and not an immigration policy, it has become one of the central border policies in place as the United States faces an ongoing numbers crisis. at the border. In February, about 55% of the more than 164,000 migrants encountered were returned due to the order, rather than being released in the United States.
Democrats and Republicans, along with border enforcement officials, have sounded the alarm about a potential increase on top of the already high numbers seen at the border. The Biden administration has said it has a plan in place to deal with what it says will likely be an “influx” of migrants.
Sources told Fox News there were about 8,000 encounters with migrants on Friday, more than the 7,000 officers a day average recently. DHS estimates for the coming months are up to 18,000 a day.
MORE THAN 62,000 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS SWITCHED BORDER PATROL AGENTS IN MARCH: SOURCES
Hagerty was present at a gathering of Border Patrol agents when their superiors told them the news of the lifting of Title 42 and described a gloomy atmosphere among the agents.
“You could have felt the weight of the cloud of depression falling on the room. There was only silence, depression,” he said. “The last tool they have to turn these people back is going to be taken away from them. It’s as if the Biden administration sent out an invitation to come across the border on May 23.”
“Now they have to expect a huge tidal wave of people crossing this border that they can’t handle,” he said.
Hagerty has long warned of the effects of the border crisis on the current fentanyl crisis, noting that there have been more than 100,000 overdose deaths a year, many of them attributable to the deadly drug – which is frequently produced in Mexico from Chinese precursors. and shipped across the border into the United States
HAGERTY INTRODUCES BILL TO USE TITLE 42 TO PROTECT US FROM DRUG TRAFFICKING
He said Tennessee officials have warned they are seeing more and more drug overdoses and that “the toll this is taking on the middle part of America…is significant.”
“A mayor had 27 drug overdoses last year, all but three of which were from fentanyl – which means the Chinese Communist Party has its fingerprints on everything that happens here in America,” he said. declared.
“It’s not just what’s happening at our border, it’s happening all over America,” he said.
He recalled how, under the Trump administration, President Trump told Chinese President Xi Jinping to stop sending fentanyl directly to the United States — which the Chinese leader subsequently did, Hagerty said.
“He never agreed to stop sending him to Mexico, and because of Biden collapsing the southern border, he put Xi and the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] back in business, they’re back to waging war on America’s youth.”
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Hagerty recently introduced legislation that would allow Title 42 to be used beyond its current use to stop communicable diseases, and also be used to protect the United States from the smuggling of deadly drugs like fentanyl.
The legislation authorizes the use of Title 42 when it is determined that “due to the existence of a substantial traffic in illicit drugs from a foreign country, there is a serious danger of the introduction of such drugs ” in the USA.