Hagerty, Murphy Introduce Legislation to Target Deadly Fentanyl Before it Reaches U.S. Border

May 19, 2023

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,today introduced the Combatting Fentanyl Trafficking from China and Mexico Act, bipartisan legislation to tackle the fentanyl crisis by cutting off the fentanyl supply chain before the finished product enters the U.S., including by targeting bad actors in Mexico and China involved in the production and transit of fentanyl to the U.S. through a combination of sanctions and incentives.

“The rise in fentanyl overdose deaths affects every state—it’s not a partisan issue, and finding a solution shouldn’t be either,” said Senator Hagerty. “That’s why I’m pleased to partner with Senator Murphy on this legislation targeting the flow of fentanyl before it gets to our southern border by pressuring Mexico and China to crackdown on this deadly trade and imposing sanctions against entities in those countries that facilitate fentanyl production and trafficking.” 

“Fentanyl is devastating our communities, and we can’t wait until it gets to America to take action,” said Senator Murphy. “That’s why I’m teaming up with Senator Hagerty on bipartisan legislation to disrupt the early stages of the fentanyl trade. We can do so much more to stop the chemical components of illegal fentanyl from getting into the supply chain, meaning these substances have a lower chance of ever reaching the southern border. Our bill would ensure that stopping the flow of fentanyl into the U.S. takes a higher priority in our relationships with Mexico and China and equips the administration with new tools to help secure their cooperation.” 

The Combatting Fentanyl Trafficking from China and Mexico Act would:

  • Require the State Department tostrengthen efforts between the U.S. and Mexico to combat fentanyl production, pursue prosecution of transnational criminal organizations involved in the trade, reduce the number of illicit firearms crossing the border, and provide assistance to Mexico to strengthen relevant law enforcement agencies;
  • Authorize targeted sanctions on Chinese individuals and companies involved in the fentanyl trade;
  • Allow use of sanctions policy on designated entities in China to press for significant progress on countering fentanyl;
  • Publicly designate airports, ports, and states in Mexico that are major transit sites for fentanyl and fentanyl precursors; and
  • Allow use of assistance to Mexico to encourage significant progress on countering fentanyl.

Last month, Hagerty led his colleagues in reintroducing the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act, legislation to add drug smuggling as an additional basis for Title 42 immigration enforcement authority, which would preserve for Border Patrol agents an essential tool to quickly remove illegal border crossers and stop the drug trafficking that is fueling the overdose epidemic in America, now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45.