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State officials: Border a ‘national security crisis’

A group of state officials recently returned from what they called an “eye-opening” visit to the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The influx of immigrants coming across our border, and it’s not just Latin American, I mean, we’re getting Chinese immigrants, we’re getting immigrants from the Middle East,” Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter told Yellowhammer News.

Ledbetter, Attorney General Steve Marshall and Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed were invited to meet with frontline Border Patrol authorities as Title 42, a Trump-era policy to manage a spiraling situation at the border, is set to expire this month.

Reed called the trip an “eye-opening” look at a “dangerous situation.”

“We are truly facing a national security crisis due to the unregulated force of the illegal drug activity on the other side of the river,” he said. “It is clear the American border needs higher security and improved technology to protect our children’s future and our country’s leaders must step up and take action now.”

On the state level, there’s a limit to how much can be done to curb the spill-over consequences from federal inaction. But the Legislature has already authorized several bills this session to clamp down on fentanyl trafficking while keeping law enforcement officers safe.

RELATED: Tuberville: ‘Need 15,000’ troops – not 1,500 – at border

“I think we will see a lot of different laws come out of the visit just to try to protect people in our state,” Ledbetter said.

“With Title 42 falling off on May the 11th, there’s a lot of issues down there now, and they are scrambling trying to get enough personnel to protect the border.” Ledbetter said. “They say there’ll be thousands coming in, probably at midnight.

“It’s going to be a mass exodus once that happens.”

Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270 for coverage of the 2023 legislative session.

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