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Rep. Williams Requests Update from DHS on NII Technology to Protect American Citizens from Opioid Trafficking

Aug 14, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX-25) this week sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad Wolf requesting an update on the implementation of Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology at the southern border. Congress appropriated $705 million over three years specifically for NII technology so law enforcement would more effectively be able to scan vehicles for opioids and illicit drugs as they enter the United States.

“We must equip federal agents and law enforcement personnel at our southern border with the tools necessary to keep Americans safe. Congress invested hundreds of millions of dollars in state-of-the-art technology to protect our communities from illicit drugs coming across the border, and we must ensure these tools are utilized to the fullest extent possible,” said Congressman Williams. “Fentanyl and synthetic opioid overdoses caused over 50,000 deaths in 2019 alone in the U.S. and they continue to scourge communities nationwide. I thank Acting Secretary Wolf for his commitment to the American people and I look forward to hearing from the Department about the implementation of this lifesaving technology.”

The letter reads: “I write to call attention to the opioid epidemic that continues plaguing our nation, and the actions we must take to ensure we are appropriately addressing this crisis. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids resulted in over 50,000 deaths in 2019 alone, prompting the U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat opioids and develop innovative ways to gain control of this dire situation. 

“CBP requested, and Congress appropriated, $705 million over 3 years to invest in Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology, providing the capability to scan every vehicle and detect trace amounts of illicit drugs. It is imperative this transformative technology is fielded as soon as possible to reduce the number of opioids on American streets.”

Click here to view the letter online.

Background

Congressman Williams in March signed an appropriations letter requesting language to be included in the FY21 appropriations package requiring DHS to provide an update on the implementation of NII technology. Click here to view the letter.

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Congressman Roger Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas and serves as a member of the House Committee on Financial Services.