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Kaine Statement on Republicans’ Continued Refusal to Secure the Border

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) released the following statement after voting to advance border security legislation that was negotiated by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), and James Lankford (R-OK), and the White House. The legislation was considered by the Senate again this week after it was torpedoed by congressional Republicans in February.

“The Senate had before us a border security bill that resulted from months of bipartisan negotiations between Democrats, Republicans, and the White House. Democrats tried to bring this bill up for a vote back in February, but Republicans abandoned it after Donald Trump said he wanted to use this issue as a political talking point. This deal isn’t perfect—but it represents bipartisan consensus on a critical issue. Today, we tried to proceed toward a vote on the bill again, only to have Republicans block us from even debating it, let alone voting to pass it. Enough is enough. This is now the fourth time since I’ve come to the Senate that Republicans have torpedoed bipartisan border security legislation. Virginians sent me to Congress to act in good faith, not grandstand. I will keep looking for opportunities to work in a bipartisan way to secure the border, tackle the fentanyl crisis, and create a pathway to citizenship for our Dreamers.”

Kaine delivered remarks on the Senate floor about the legislation yesterday.

In addition to providing more paths to permanent residence for America’s Afghan allies who fought side-by-side with U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan, the legislation would provide 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. Kaine also helped pass a supplemental national security funding package that included the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Kaine, to require the President to sanction drug rings involved in international drug trafficking.