Spanberger, Garbarino Introduce Bipartisan “Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act” to Bolster America’s Response to Trafficking Along U.S. Southern Border

The Legislation Would Boost Federal Research & Development into New Technologies to Identify, Track, & Interdict Illicit Fentanyl Coming through America’s Borders & Ports of Entry

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-02) yesterday introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen America’s response to fentanyl coming through the nation’s borders and ports of entry.

The Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act would more than quadruple research and development into technologies and strategies that deter and interdict fentanyl shipments. Additionally, the bipartisan bill would require the administration — including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — to recognize the crisis at hand and build new strategies to target and detect illicit fentanyl coming through the southern border and onto America’s streets.

“As a former federal law enforcement officer and CIA case officer who worked narcotics cases and tracked dangerous cartels, I know that fentanyl trafficking is a direct danger to the safety of the American people. Fentanyl is coming through our borders and ports of entry at alarming rates, and there’s no question that we must strengthen our response — particularly at checkpoints,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to work with Congressman Garbarino to introduce this bipartisan legislation, which pushes the administration to use the latest, cutting-edge technology to identify fentanyl at our borders and prevent it from killing Americans. These fentanyl shipments pose a threat to every American community, and this threat does not distinguish between Democrats and Republicans. That’s why we need to work together to fight this scourge, save lives, and hold transnational criminal organizations accountable for their crimes.”

“Fentanyl is the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18 to 45. This epidemic has devastated communities across the United States, and Long Island is no exception. We must act decisively to stop gangs and drug traffickers from bringing this poison into our country,” said Garbarino. “This legislation would fund research aimed at developing advanced technology for border screenings and require an assessment of the effectiveness of current technologies and strategies to address fentanyl being trafficked into the US. I am proud to co-lead this effort and I thank Congresswoman Spanberger for her leadership on this issue.” 

In April 2022, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass-overdose events — meaning three or more overdoses occurring around the same time in close proximity.

To strengthen the U.S. response to illicit fentanyl, the Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act would require the DHS Secretary — in consultation with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — to research additional solutions that would:

  • Target and detect illicit fentanyl and its precursors,
  • Enhance targeting of counterfeit pills and illicit pill presses through nonintrusive, noninvasive, and other visual screening technologies; and
  • Strengthen data-driven targeting to increase seizure rates of fentanyl and its precursors.

The legislation would authorize $20 million for this research each year for the next five years — more than quadrupling annual spending directed by Congress on similar research and development from the fiscal year 2022 level.

The Securing America’s Borders Against Fentanyl Act is endorsed by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Click here to read the full bill text.

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