W. Va. AG Morrisey: Drugs Coming Across Border Will Devastate State (Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Tuesday, 08 June 2021 03:16 PM
West Virginia has already been torn apart by the opioid addiction epidemic, and with the border crisis continuing to grow, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Tuesday he fears the additional fentanyl and other drugs that are pouring into the United States will make matters even worse for his state.
"I think that the last administration had really cracked down tremendously on illegal immigration," Morrisey, who has written to the Department of Homeland Security to outline his concerns, said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "In West Virginia, a lot of people always ask me, 'Patrick Morrisey, why do you focus on the illegal immigration issue?' It's because it leads to a gateway for illicit drugs coming up through the Mexican border, which ultimately finds its way to West Virginia."
Fentanyl deaths went up by 87% between 2019 and 2020, he added.
"We're very worried with this reprioritization by the Biden administration that illicit drug trafficking will go through the roof," said the attorney general, but the White House is not focusing on that problem.
"We're very concerned because we knew it was an ongoing problem," said Morrisey. "We know that the Trump administration put some policies in place to try to tighten the border and that would allow resources to not only curtail illicit immigration but also focusing on illicit drug trafficking as well."
But with President Joe Biden ending Trump's remain in Mexico policy, "we're very worried that they are not going to be able to focus much on drug trafficking," said Morrisey.
"When they sent their notice last week that it had no mention of illicit drugs, even though it's a huge problem coming across the border," he continued. "We're deeply worried what may happen next."
The Border Patrol is also having difficulties regulating the issue because of the massive number of migrants coming into the United States, said Morrisey.
"It is a question of resources and prioritizing," he said. "If a lot more people will be physically here in the U.S., it requires more resources…there is so much drug product that flows."
Mexico is also becoming a bigger producer of fentanyl and other drugs through its drug cartels, said Morrisey, and that's where he wants to focus his energies.
"We were making huge progress on the illicit opioid issues with respect to pain pills," said Morrisey. "I've been pushing against fentanyl for a long time. You need to have the federal government working in cooperation with the states. We started to see that with the Trump administration. We're seeing a reversal of these key immigration policies now. A lot of work needs to be done but we do have to make sure there is not a porous border. I think that's the key to solving this."
Morrisey said he wants the DHS to respond to his letter by June 20, and threatened to take his arguments to court if he doesn't hear that the administration has pulled back on its policies.
"We know that we're working with Texas and Missouri and other states and this is our part of the equation because we're terrified about the prospect of these illicit drugs, and people need to know that Mexican drug cartels are a real problem," he said.