BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Governor Brad Little recently traveled to the Texas/Mexico border in his campaign to fight the flow of fentanyl into Idaho. Governor Little joined 9 other Governors in the Lonestar State to meet with Texas Governor Greg Abbot.
“My job is to keep everyone safe, and they can't be safe if there's a wholesale distribution of fentanyl. We're getting better at identifying it, how they hide it, how they transport it. But a lot of it's coming through Idaho,” Little said in an interview on Wednesday.
Governor Little saw first-hand the situation at the border. To boil it down simply, Governors like Little see fentanyl, often in pill form, coming into their state, killing people.
“The legislature is keenly aware of it. They appropriated money for a new interdiction team at the state police. They knew that I'm doing this process. We get help from Texas. I think that cost us, the exercise the last few weeks, was $60,000 or $70,000.,” Little said.
The Governor says it is already clear the trip is a good investment for Idaho law enforcement already fighting against the fentanyl fuel.
“They learned a lot, when I talked to one of them Monday up in Coeur d’Alene that had come back and they said having that firsthand experience with these real experts is very helpful for our for our teams,” Little said.
In his 2022 State of the State address, Governor Little launched a campaign to fight influx of fentanyl and meth into Idaho, ‘Esto Perpetua’ or ‘forever enduring.’ Through public education, community investments, and action like his trip to Texas, Governor Little has made it a mission to try and save lives, lives that are being lost across Idaho because of the potent narcotic.
Part of Little’s campaign includes the ‘Fentanyl Takes All’ public education messaging. That includes messaging on billboards across Idaho that include tragic stories of young Idahoans who died from a fentanyl overdose. Their stories highlight how quickly the drug can upend a life. Little says he thought of those Idaho stories while visiting the border.
“We wanted to make sure that everything we said was 100% credible. And we're seeing that, kids, their parents, teachers are understanding the magnitude of it, because when we first started doing this, still perpetually so many these parents said, I have no idea. I didn't know what fentanyl was. I didn't know that it was delivered in these pills. So that's why it's so important now,” Little said.
The Governor has been consistent in calling for meaningful action at the US/Mexico border as a collection of crises stack up. Little and other Governors outlined a list of 10 things the Biden Administration could do to take on the issues like drug and human trafficking. Little says only two of those ideas have been turned into action.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the nationwide amount of fentanyl seized at checkpoints from the fiscal year that is from October 01, 2022- September 30, 2023, is 509 pounds, so far.
U.S. Border Patrol Fiscal Year 2023 runs October 01, 2022- September 30, 2023.
Specifics aside, Little says it’s very clear something needs to be done in terms of Federal policy.
“In totality we need comprehensive immigration reform to address this problem. It's just systemic all along our border,” Little said. “Really what the bad guys want is chaos on the border. So, the Department of Public Safety can't do their job. Border Patrol can't do their job. We don't have enough judges to adjudicate all of this. Chaos helps the bad guys organize legal immigration is in the benefit of the American people.”
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