ABC Fox Montana: Montana Senators Urge for Response at US Southern Border

by Matti Olson

Montana Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines recently gave their approval to the National Defense Authorization Act, and one priority that emerged was gaining more funding to strengthen security at the United States and Mexico southern border.

Senator Jon Tester recently sent a letter to senate leadership, Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, urging for more negotiations on border security suggesting it’s especially urgent because the opioids trafficked across the border into the US are direct threats to Montana. 

“The challenges are twofold, in my opinion. Number one, you got Fentanyl coming across the border, precursors coming from China, going through Mexico, coming across the border. And then you’ve got folks that are coming across who do not have the right documentation and coming into the country. So figuring out how we can secure that border so that doesn’t happen is also very, very important,” said Sen. Tester.

Senator Tester is currently urging his colleagues to pass his “Fend Off Fentanyl Act” as it was originally included in the NDAA, but was removed.

The act would quote “impose economic sanctions on those engaged in the international trafficking of illicit fentanyl, precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl, or other related opioids.”

“All it takes is one mistake, somebody that doesn’t even think they’re taking fentanyl, but it ends up that it could be in there and it doesn’t take much… a speck can kill you. And so this is bad stuff. And we need to educate folks that are out there. We need to hold the people who are pushing this stuff, the traffickers, accountable to the maximum extent of the law. And then we need to stop them from coming into the country in the first place,” said Sen. Tester.

Senator Steve Daines has also proposed a potential solution the “Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act” which would “add large scale drug smuggling as an additional basis for Title 42, an expedited removal immigration policy.”

“Montana has seen an 1,100 percent increase in fatal overdoses linked to Fentanyl since President Biden took office. With record amounts of Fentanyl, record amounts of other drugs crossing our southern border and making their way straight to Montana. We have become a northern border state with a southern border crisis,” said Sen. Daines.