(The Center Square) – Western Wisconsin’s congressman says he went to the U.S. southern border to see the entry point of the drugs killing people in Wisconsin.
Republican Derrick Van Orden took a tour along the Texas side of the southern border on Thursday.
“We know where [fentanyl] comes from. And we know how it gets here,” Van Orden told The Center Square. “We know with 100% certainty that the precursor chemicals, or the fentanyl itself, is manufactured in China. And then it’s smuggled across the southern border.”
Van Orden said Customs and Border Protection reports show 90% of the fentanyl in the United States is smuggled across the southern border.
‘He said there is a direct link between weaknesses at the southern border and the skyrocketing number of fentanyl deaths in America, specifically in Wisconsin.
“We’ve had over 1,200 Wisconsinites die of fentanyl overdoses in 2021,” Van Orden explained. “Unfortunately our statistics aren’t available for 2022 yet, but it’s not getting better. As a matter of fact, we’re on a trajectory to have more fentanyl come into this country in 2022 than we did in 2021.”
To make that point, Van Orden said Gundersen Health System in La Crosse reported nine fentanyl overdoses in January alone.
Van Orden also said he wanted to go to the board to see firsthand how millions of people have come into this country illegally.
“They are human beings. We are a compassionate nation, but we’re going to run out of capacity,” Van Orden explained. “I am the chairman of a subcommittee on the Veterans Affairs Committee that is responsible for taking care of homeless veterans. So if we’re housing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, then it is irresponsible to have one single homeless veteran.”
Van Orden made the trip to the border Thursday with fellow Republican congressmen Juan Ciscomani (Ariz.), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (Ore.), Jen Kiggans (Va.), and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.