‘The cartel is in charge’: Oregon Republican legislators tour the US-Mexico border

A group of 15 Oregon Republican lawmakers visited the United States-Mexico border in Yuma, Arizona on Monday. Their goal was to raise awareness about the impact of border issues on Oregon.

The lawmakers, in a press release announcing the trip, emphasized that despite not being a border state, Oregon still bears the brunt of the ramifications stemming from America’s porous southern border.

Lawmakers recently embarked on a border tour alongside the Border Security Alliance advocacy group and Arizona officials. Their objective was to gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding illegal immigration, drug smuggling, and human trafficking.

According to officials who spoke to KOIN 6 News, it is important to note that this trip was not funded by taxpayers. They also mentioned that the majority of the lawmakers will be returning to Oregon on Wednesday.

Sen. Tim Knopp (R-27) expressed his concern about the human tragedy at the Yuma border, emphasizing the need for Oregon Republican legislators to take action. He stated that the influx of dangerous and deadly drugs has turned every state into a border state. In light of this, he called for a serious approach to ensuring the safety of Oregonians by addressing the negative consequences of the Democrats’ policies at the border.

Among the Oregon attendees, we have Senator Tim Knopp, Representative Vikki Breese-Iverson (R-Prineville), Senator David Brock Smith (SD-01), Representative Christine Goodwin (HD-04), Senator Kim Thatcher (SD-11), and Representative Fred Girod (HD-09).

Rep. Breese-Iverson expressed her concern about the current situation at the border, emphasizing that the cartel has taken control. She discovered that although there are some border walls and immigration processes in place, the reality on the ground is that the cartel is responsible for the influx of immigrants crossing the border.

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Breese-Iverson expressed optimism about the upcoming tour, stating, “In Oregon, Republicans are taking a proactive approach to addressing the issue. Merely recriminalizing drugs won’t solve the drug addiction and overdose crisis. While Oregon Democrats may choose to ignore the problem, we believe it’s our responsibility to tackle it head-on.”

According to Rep. Goodwin, Oregon is making positive strides by re-criminalizing drugs, implementing stricter penalties for drug dealing, and mandating addiction treatment.

During the upcoming legislative session, Goodwin and Breese-Iverson have expressed their commitment to providing law enforcement and district attorneys with the necessary resources to effectively combat drug-related crimes and remove drugs from the streets.

Breese-Iverson emphasized the importance of raising awareness about the impact of Arizona’s actions on Oregon. She highlighted the need for Oregonians to stay informed about the developments in Arizona in order to effectively address the challenges they might face. She stated, “By being aware of what’s happening in Arizona, we can better navigate the situation here in Oregon.”

‘A cheap stunt’

Oliver Muggli, the Executive Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Fund, criticized the border tour, stating that it is nothing more than a cheap stunt by Republicans who prioritize MAGA politics over addressing the drug crisis in Oregon. He highlighted that Democrats have been leading significant reforms in the state’s drug policy to enhance community safety and continue to work diligently on finding more solutions. Muggli expressed that if these politicians were genuinely committed to their responsibilities, they would be actively collaborating with us instead of indulging in a vacation-like adventure at the border.

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To tackle the addiction crisis in Oregon, lawmakers have recently approved House Bill 4002. This bill aims to revise certain aspects of Measure 110, a voter-approved initiative that decriminalized the use of hard drugs.

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed HB 4002 on April 1, offering individuals caught carrying drugs like fentanyl and meth the option to choose between facing charges or seeking treatment. The treatment option entails undergoing a behavioral health screening and participating in a “deflection program,” thereby avoiding fines.

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