Ban Taxpayer Funding of Cartel Traffickers

February 21, 2023

The numbers don’t lie. In 2018, cartels made roughly $500 million a year smuggling migrants into the United States. Today, this source of income has ballooned into a $13 BILLION industry. 

Why on earth would the Biden administration allow dangerous transnational criminals to line their pockets at the expense of vulnerable women and children? Only Joe Biden himself can answer that. But one thing remains clear: our southern border has descended into chaos as a direct result of their reckless policies.

If that’s not enough to make your blood boil, consider that your taxpayer dollars are flowing to alleged drug smugglers and human traffickers while they await prosecution and conviction. That’s right. Even after being charged with a federal offense, many of these people continue to live in government housing and receive other government benefits. 

During my recent trip to the southern border with Senator Katie Britt and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, I had the honor of working closely with a human trafficking survivor-turned-advocate for trafficked and at-risk women. Karla is one of the bravest women I have ever met. From the time she was 12 until she escaped her captors at 16, she was raped thousands of times. Her story, while horrifying, is not unique. Cartel criminals have kidnapped thousands of women and girls just like Karla and exploited them for sex and labor.

In Joe Biden’s America, every state is a border state, and Tennessee is no exception. You can see evidence of cartel activity right here at home. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), Human Trafficking Intelligence Analysts processed 1,268 tips in Fiscal Year 2022, 621 of which involved minors. Last year, more than 184,000 fentanyl-laced pills were confiscated by the Louisville, Kentucky Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) division, which includes Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. They also seized more than316 pounds of fentanyl powder.

After I returned to Washington, I was determined to do something to protect both the victims of these dangerous criminals and your hard-earned money. Last week, I introduced the Stop Taxpayer Funding of Traffickers Act which would prohibit anyone charged with drug or human trafficking at our international borders or in our territorial waters from receiving federal government benefits while they await trial.

President Biden’s refusal to secure our southern border has created an unprecedented humanitarian and national security crisis that has allowed human and drug traffickers to flourish. I have no doubt that his Democratic allies in the Senate are already preparing to protect both the administration’s disastrous immigration policies and the rapidly expanding welfare state from the common sense provisions laid out in my bill.

But what they have forgotten is that Tennesseans (and indeed, all Americans) are outraged that this disregard for law and order is being tolerated in our nation. Keeping our children and communities safe should not be a controversial choice. Neither should eliminating incentives for criminal activity. It’s time for Washington to start taking the border catastrophe seriously, and we should start by ensuring we are not allowing criminals to flourish at taxpayer expense.