Rep. Sue Homola: Why the southern border matters to New Hampshire

THE SOUTHERN BORDER has been besieged by historic numbers of illegal crossings, a jaw-dropping increase in drug trafficking and seizures and a Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) that is exhausted and demoralized. In Washington, D.C., we find indifference to the crisis by the very people tasked with safeguarding our nation’s security and sovereignty.

Since the southern border is a great distance from New Hampshire it is easy to think it does not affect our lives much. But we need look no further than the drugs and overdoses flooding our streets to understand why it matters.

Let’s review what is happening at the border. According to data provided by the CBP, the number of encounters with illegal individuals has risen nearly every month.

FY2020: 353,168

FY2021: 1,105, 926

FY2022 (to date): 1,083,896

The number of encounters with illegal migrants along the southern border is on pace to set a new record in 2022. In April and May alone, there were nearly a half of a million encounters and that only represents the people that CBP had contact with, not the individuals who crossed the border unimpeded.

Who might be crossing our border unimpeded? Surely drug traffickers are. Sophisticated drug cartels know that when one section of the border is flooded with individuals crossing illegally and that border agents are focused there, other areas are open to the flow of drugs.

What kind of increase in drug trafficking have we seen over the past 18 months? In FY2021, CBP reported a 1066% increase in fentanyl and a 98% increase in cocaine seized at or near the border. According to a January 2022 CBP report:

“During FY 2021, CBP officers at the eight ports of entry extending from Brownsville to Del Rio that comprise the Laredo Field Office seized 87,652 pounds of narcotics that would have commanded a combined estimated street value of $786 million. Specifically, they seized 41,713 pounds of marijuana; 8,592 pounds of cocaine, up 98 percent from FY 20; 33,777 pounds of methamphetamine; 1,215 pounds of heroin, 588 pounds of fentanyl, up 1,066 percent from FY 2020, $10.4 million in unreported currency, 463 weapons, up 21 percent from FY 2020 and 84,863 rounds of ammunition.”

What does this mean for New Hampshire and our surrounding state neighbors? It means that through a well-developed network, a sharp increase in illegal drugs have made their way across the border and into New England. It also means that drugs continue to make their way onto our streets, our neighborhoods, and into the hands of our loved ones, some of whom may already be struggling with addiction.

New Hampshire continues to struggle with a drug epidemic. Drug overdoses in Nashua and Manchester alone increased by 110% in 2021 compared to overdose rates in 2020. In addition to increased fentanyl in our communities, methamphetamine has been pouring into our state since 2021 and is overwhelming our emergency personnel.

According to former U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire John Farley, methamphetamine has made a comeback and is now the second most common illegal drug in New Hampshire. He summed up distribution of methamphetamine from the southern border in this statement:

“What we’ve seen is a real growth in the Mexican cartels manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine,” Farley said. “They are able to produce a cheap and very pure form of methamphetamine, what people call crystal meth, and they are very aggressive in distributing that highly addictive drug.”

According to New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella, methamphetamine has become a more prevalent factor in investigations involving people shot by police. A significant number of fatal police shooting investigations have found that those who engage in violent confrontations with police often had methamphetamine in their system.

Just two short years ago, this border was as secure as it had been in years. Due to disastrous policies and abject indifference by the Biden administration, our southern border has become a place where our national security is compromised and drug cartels are sovereign.

At times like these it would be good to have New Hampshire representation on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; someone who could recognize this humanitarian and national security crisis and be an advocate for responsible policies aimed at keeping Granite Staters and all American citizens safe. Instead, we have Senator Maggie Hassan.

Rep. Sue Homola (R-Hollis) represents Hillsborough County’s District 27.

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