'Cynical political ploy': Experts slam GOP’s 'unequivocally false' claim that Biden is behind opioid crisis
Republican leaders' attempt to blame President Joe Biden's immigration policies for an increase in fentanyl deaths is a "cynical political ploy" according to critics, The Guardian reports.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, tied the sharp increase in fentanyl seizures and deaths to the record number of undocumented migrants entering the US last year, and blamed the White House for letting them in. So did Congresswoman Mary Miller when she claimed that Biden and the homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, 'opened our borders and flooded our streets with fentanyl.'
Furthermore, according to the report, "Republicans held a congressional hearing in July into the Biden administration's 'open border policies' after the party's members on the homeland security committee released a report accusing Mayorkas of a 'dereliction of duty.'"
However, Mayorkas deems the Republicans' claims "unequivocally false," according to The Guardian. "The vast, vast majority is thought to be smuggled through the ports of entry and tractor-trailer trucks and passenger vehicles."
The Guardian notes 2024 Republican candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also blamed the public health crisis on Biden, and previously "brought dozens of sheriffs from across the US together in Arizona in June to peer into Mexico and claim that the president's easing of [former President] Donald Trump's restrictions on migrants seeking asylum had opened the door to a flood of the drug killing about 200 Americans a day."
The news outlet reports "Ninety of" the sheriffs "signed a letter praising the Florida governor's position as Republicans increasingly link the growing toll from opioids to 'Biden's open border'"
Criticizing the GOP leaders' claims, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (R-Arizona) said DeSantis' border visit "was motivated by hate and fearmongering 'to pander to the same old race baiting anti-immigrant extremist politicians and officials in southern Arizona,'" according to The Guardian.
University of Texas, El Paso Center for Law and Human Behavior Director Victor M. Manjarrez Jr., told NPR last year while "it's true that fentanyl is crossing the border," the drug is "not coming over on the backs of migrants, who are often turning themselves in to seek asylum."
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