State of the Union Fentanyl 80294 d40ce c0 46 3000 1796 s1200x700

Fentanyl at the border: Americans ready for troops, trade restrictions with Mexico

A majority of Americans want to see the U.S. send troops and equipment into Mexico to stop the surge of fentanyl flowing across the southern border, according to a poll the National Sheriffs’ Association is releasing Friday.

The public also overwhelmingly supports slapping trade restrictions on Mexico to force its leaders to do more about fentanyl. And Americans would like to see the U.S. label smuggling cartels as terrorist organizations, the TIPP Poll found.

The polling comes with less than a week to go before the Biden administration ends the Title 42 pandemic power that has allowed it to expel illegal immigrants without having to put them through a full immigration process. Roughly half of border crossers are being expelled under Title 42, and once that power expires on May 11 experts expect the already chaotic border to turn catastrophic.

Sheriffs on the front lines say that chaos will quickly bleed deep into the country.

“As I write this, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are at the southern border, ready to cross the border and Washington has few plans to interdict the massive onslaught of cartels bringing additional illegal guns, deadly fentanyl and human trafficking and child and female exploitation into every American community,” said Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County, Arizona.

He is chair of the National Sheriffs’ Association’s border security committee.

NSA’s new poll found that 50% of Americans already believe the migrants at the border are a problem for their own communities. Republicans are more likely to see the situation as a problem than Democrats, and those in the West and South are more likely than the Midwest or Northeast.

Americans were divided on the impact of increased migration, with roughly a quarter saying the new arrivals bring more crime and compete for jobs, while a quarter said they spur new economic opportunities.

But there was more unanimity in blaming the border situation for record fentanyl deaths, and backing tough solutions.

Some 53% approved of the “deployment of U.S. military personnel and assets inside Mexico” to force Mexican leaders to do more to stem the flow of the deadly synthetic opioid. Just 30% opposed the idea.

Supporters included 56% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans, though independents were more skeptical.

All three demographics were eager to see the U.S. use trade restrictions to prod Mexico, with 83% of Republicans, 76% of Democrats and 68% of independents in favor of the idea.

Then-President Trump showed how susceptible Mexico is to trade pressure when he threatened to slap a 25% tariff on all Mexican trade in 2019 in retaliation for a migrant surge.

Mexican officials rushed to Washington to negotiate, agreeing to new migration steps that solved the surge almost overnight.

By 2020, the U.S. recorded the least amount of illegal crossings in more than 40 years.

The TIPP Poll was conducted from March 21 to April 4 and surveyed 1,414 American adults.

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