The Arizona congressman wants to know why people aren’t upset that border agents stopped massive amounts of fentanyl from entering the United States.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Monday questioned why the Biden administration seizing large amounts of the potent drug fentanyl at the border hadn’t created more “outrage” in the media, suggesting it was somehow proof of a dire and threatening situation.
“Under Joe Biden, enough fentanyl to kill 238 million Americans was seized at the southern border last month,” Biggs tweeted Monday afternoon. “Where’s the outrage in the media?”
It is true that border agents are seizing larger amounts of fentanyl, a potent opioid, at the border. But it’s unclear why Biggs believes those agents preventing large quantities of the potentially deadly drug from being illegally smuggled into the United States constitutes a crisis.
Biggs is part of a large contingent of Republicans pushing claims of a border crisis — which experts say doesn’t actually exist — ahead of the 2022 midterms. Whether that message helps the GOP at the ballot box remains to be seen.
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In the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans waged a similarly racist and xenophobic effort to scare voters about a “caravan” of immigrants making their way to the United States, in an effort to hold on to their congressional majorities. It didn’t work, and Democrats ultimately went on to win control of the House in a wave that saw them gain 41 seats.
As soon as those midterms were over, the “caravan” narrative all but disappeared from right-wing media like Fox News — which had been relentlessly pushing the topic on its airwaves — only to resurface again in March.
“A caravan a day. Those are the numbers we are seeing right now at the border. We do not have the facilities to handle this. This is the tip of the iceberg of a crisis caused by President Biden’s policies,” Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson tweeted on March 8.
Biggs’ attempt on Monday to gin up outrage over the Biden administration’s fentanyl seizure, meanwhile, has mostly fallen flat, even among some on the right.
“Seems pretty great that enough fentanyl to kill 238 million Americans was stopped at the border,” Amanda Carpenter, a conservative pundit, tweeted in response to Bigg’s comment. “I’m outraged I heard it from you and not the Biden WH, actually.”
Experts have said repeatedly that claims of a “border crisis” like the one Republicans suggest is happening at the US-Mexico border is mostly manufactured and the result of seasonal migration patterns, as well as repeat attempts from those turned away under the Title 42 expulsion order first enacted under Trump.
That policy enables U.S. border officials to block immigrants from entering the country under the guise of public health, related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, though immigration and human rights experts say it was part of an attempt by the last administration to crack down on immigration more broadly.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.