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Kaine Statement on Biden Border Visit and Republicans’ Continued Refusal to Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, which comes on the heels of congressional Republicans’ decision to kill bipartisan legislation to secure the border and tackle the fentanyl crisis:

“It’s clear that President Biden is committed to addressing our challenges at the border. But he shouldn’t have to do it alone. I’m deeply frustrated that congressional Republicans refuse to act because they’d rather keep using this issue to score political points. Why else would they kill a bipartisan border security deal that was negotiated over many months by the White House and members of both parties? When my Republican colleagues decide to get serious about actually doing their jobs, I’ll be ready to work in a bipartisan way to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system.”

The bipartisan border security deal that Republicans killed earlier this month would have provided funding to deploy more inspection machines to detect fentanyl at ports of entry at the southern border and increase law enforcement personnel, immigration judge teams, and asylum officers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 72,000 Americans died of a fentanyl overdose in 2022. According to the Virginia Department of Health, nearly 2,000 Virginians died of a fentanyl overdose in that same year—a deeply concerning increase from 50 fentanyl overdose deaths in Virginia in 2012. 2023 figures regarding fentanyl overdoses are not yet available.

Kaine has long called for comprehensive immigration reform that would boost border security and more funding for resources to combat the fentanyl crisis. Kaine has introduced and passed the bipartisan Disrupt Fentanyl Trafficking Act to direct increased federal attention to fentanyl trafficking by declaring fentanyl trafficking a national security threat, utilizing Pentagon resources like counter-drug intelligence, and involving Mexico as an active partner to combat the crisis.