Congressman Pat Ryan has proposed an amendment to the pending immigration bill, calling for an increase of $800 million in funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The funds will be allocated to combat fentanyl trafficking at the southern border, including additional equipment, intelligence analysts, and canine units to increase the percentage of incoming passenger vehicles searched at the border. Furthermore, operating labs at ports of entry will be expanded to speed up the identification of narcotics seized, while a program to seize currency, weapons, and contraband flowing to transnational criminal organizations in Mexico will be broadened.
As Ulster County Executive, Ryan had first-hand experience in addressing the opioid and fentanyl epidemics. He stated that it is unacceptable that the pending border legislation does not mention fentanyl, and hopes that both parties will recognize the severity of the crisis faced by the community and add the crucial amendment to H.R.2.
Ryan, who has firsthand combat experience, led the bipartisan “Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act” during the last Congress. This legislation required the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to focus on developing new technological solutions to detect and target illicit fentanyl at U.S. borders and ports of entry, and was eventually signed into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).