FIRST ON FOX: A Republican congressman is introducing legislation that would take the assets of cartels and drug smugglers and divert them into funds to construct a wall at the southern border and to fight the ongoing fentanyl epidemic.
Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, is introducing the Build the Wall and Fight Fentanyl Act, which would allow for any assets seized from drug cartels — or the money from their sale at an auction — to be diverted into two funds.
Those two funds would be established in the Treasury and would be called the “Southern Border Wall Fulfillment Fund” and the “Combating the Fentanyl Epidemic Fund.”
Those funds would include assets seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. Both funds would be run by the Department of Homeland Security.
The fentanyl fund would establish a grant to be awarded to eligible entities to help address the crisis — which kills over 70,000 Americans each year. Fentanyl, which can be fatal in small doses, is created in Mexico using Chinese precursors and then smuggled into the U.S. The entities can include state and local law enforcement, health services, rehabilitation facilities and drug-use prevention advocacy organizations.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration ended the Trump administration’s project to build hundreds of miles of wall at the southern border. It has been one of the policies that has brought criticism from Republicans — who blame the administration for the border crisis the country has faced since 2021. Multiple 2024 Republican presidential candidates have pledged to restart wall construction if they are elected.
“Criminal drug traffickers have smuggled enough fentanyl into our country to kill every man, woman, and child in the United States, and tragically, too many families know the pain of losing a loved one to this deadly crisis. We must fight fire with fire to protect our families, our children, and our communities,” Feenstra said in a statement.
Feenstra said he is “committed to delivering real solutions to the border crisis by beating the drug traffickers at their own game and using their illegal financial gains to finish the border wall and support our families.”
Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., an original cosponsor of the bill, said that the fentanyl epidemic is “directly linked to our open border.”
“Since the Biden administration has failed at properly addressing these two crises, Congress must use innovative solutions to help secure our country. The Build the Wall and Fight Fentanyl Act provides a path to dedicate seized assets from traffickers towards making our nation safer,” he said in a statement.
It marks the latest in a number of solutions proposed by Republicans in Congress to the ongoing crisis. Republicans unveiled and later passed a sweeping bill in the House that would overhaul the asylum system while injecting significant funding into border security measures.
The Biden administration has claimed that an immigration overhaul to a “broken” system is needed and has called for the passage of a bill that expands lawful immigration pathways and legalizes millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. It has so far failed to pick up Republican support.
The administration has recently sued Texas over its efforts to build a floating border barrier along the Rio Grande.