(Adds Green comments in paragraphs 5-6.)
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US Customs and Border Protection is planning to ramp up its scanning capacity for vehicles entering the US in a bid to intercept fentanyl.
The agency plans to request 123 new large-scale scanners for ports of entry along the southwest border, giving it the capacity to inspect 70% of cargo vehicles and 40% of passenger vehicles by fiscal 2026, according to a fact sheet shared by the White House ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. Historically about 2% of passenger vehicles and 17% of cargo vehicles have been inspected.
“These investments will crack down on a major avenue of fentanyl trafficking, securing our border and keeping dangerous drugs from reaching our country,” the fact sheet says.
Republicans have slammed the Biden administration over the flow of fentanyl across the US-Mexico border and have sought to tie it to the record number of migrants encountered between ports of entry. CBP has reported the vast majority of fentanyl seizures at ports of entry, often by US citizens.
Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), who leads the House Homeland Security Committee, said the administration was trying “deflect from a crisis” and taking credit for technology upgrades that have been in the works since fiscal 2019.
“This desperate grasping by the Biden administration to try and convince the American people that steps are being taken to stop the flow of deadly drugs pouring into our nation instead shows an administration with no plan, attempting to save face by promoting infrastructure already in the works,” Green said in a statement Tuesday.
CBP also plans to increase voluntary data-sharing partnerships with companies to intercept opioid shipments to the US, according to the fact sheet.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ellen M. Gilmer in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org