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Hartzler Introduces Legislation to Combat Drug Trafficking at Border

April 15, 2021
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) has introduced the Eradicate Crossing of Illegal Tunnels (EXIT) Act, which expedites the approval process to fill cross border tunnels by removing the unnecessary red tape currently preventing our U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents from addressing these critical border vulnerabilities.
“Our southern border has become overrun by human and drug traffickers who have profited off both innocent children and America’s drug epidemic,” Hartzler said. “The EXIT Act targets our border vulnerabilities and expedites a long, bureaucratic, and unnecessary process of filling these smuggling tunnels. With this legislation, our communities become better protected from the influx of harmful, illegal drugs and our border patrol agents see much-needed relief towards securing our nation.”
Specifically, the bill:
  • Grants the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive Federal, State, and local environmental permits and reviews necessary to remediate unlawful border tunnels. Waiting for environmental reviews of drug tunnels that have already disturbed the ground and will ultimately be filled with concrete is unnecessary and threatens our national security.
  • Allows for CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to enter into indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts. The number of tunnels found in a year varies. Currently, CBP must put the contract out for bid for every single tunnel instead of utilizing an “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” contract that allows for contractors to be on hand in order to more quickly fill border tunnels.
  • Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify that CBP has the authority to search for and remediate all unlawful cross-border tunnels while patrolling the border.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection have already seized 5,586lbs of fentanyl in FY2021, which is more than all of FY2020. This amount would be enough to kill over 1.2 billion people.
Read the bill in its entirety here.