The Biden administration has added the fentanyl crisis to the topics he’ll discuss at a two-day summit in Mexico City with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, just sworn into her second term of office, on Jan. 6 called on the president to add the crisis to the agenda.

Moody faults Biden for failing “to demand accountability and cooperation during previous meetings with both Obrador and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Mexico and China both play tremendous roles in the growing fentanyl crisis claiming record numbers of American lives every year,” Moody’s office said in a public statement.

President Joe Biden will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (L) in a two-day summit beginning on Jan. 9. Here they met at the North American Leaders’ Summit on Nov. 18, 2021 (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The White House did not respond to an emailed request by The Epoch Times for comment on whether it changed course because of Moody’s criticism.

“Ahead of Biden’s visit to Mexico City, the White House announced an agenda that excluded fentanyl to focus on ‘climate and the environment, migration, diversity, and inclusion and increasing North America’s economic competitiveness,’” Moody’s office said.

On Jan. 5, The White House added “strengthening the border” as a subject of discussion, they said.

“At about the same time that the White House announced the Mexico City trip, two federal agencies announced grim nationwide drug-related statistics.

“The Drug Enforcement Administration seized more than 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl in 2022—enough to kill every man, woman, and child in the United States,” the office said.

Since February 2021, authorities have seized more than 23,000 pounds of illicit fentanyl, Moody’s office said on Jan. 5, enough to kill every American 15 times over and send the overdose death toll past 100,000 a year.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced more than 108.000 drug overdose deaths during a 12-month span ending in February 2022.”

Under Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida has been aggressive in pushing the federal government to enforce border controls and immigration laws.

Last year, Moody sued the Department of Homeland Security. A trial begins on Jan. 9 in federal court in Pensacola.

Moody’s office says her lawyers have—”through months of intense discovery … uncovered evidence of Biden ignoring public-safety immigration laws allowing more than 1 million unvetted, inadmissible immigrants into the interior.”

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Ashley Moody, Florida’s Attorney General, pressed the Biden administration to confront the fentanyl crisis in the president’s upcoming meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. File photo from Jan. 24, 2019. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Letting them in, Moody said, also allows in “dangerous individuals and deadly drugs like fentanyl.”

“Now, because of our litigation, the president must defend his reckless actions and refusal to follow the law in a federal courtroom.”

Moody maintains a 1996 federal law requires the federal government to detain “inadmissible immigrants” until they are repatriated to their home country, as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

And the Department of Homeland Security must “detain applicants for admission until it is adjudicated whether the immigrant is to be removed.”

Moody’s office said that the lawsuit had survived motions to dismiss and for summary judgment.

Moody’s litigation has uncovered, among other things, that the Biden administration “purposely reduced detention capacity of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and narrowed removal pathways.”

In a deposition, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said those changes “left Border Patrol with no other choice but to release hundreds of thousands of immigrants into the interior.”

Epoch Times Photo
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz at a community meeting in Del Rio, Texas, on June 24, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

The state Attorney General’s Office also uncovered a May 19, 2022 memo saying the federal government’s plan, in the event immigrants overran the border when Title 42 expires, was their mass release into the United States.

Title 42 is a public health law allowing the government to keep people from entering the country during a public health emergency.

The Trump administration invoked it in March 2020 during the Covid pandemic. Florida is one of 23 states that has sued the federal government over its plan to let Title 42 expire.

On Jan. 5, the Biden administration announced a plan to strengthen the law’s use in some cases while it remains in place.

And the testimony and deposition of Corey Price, the ICE executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations, confirmed the Biden administration “knew its immigration priorities would cut enforcement in half and still implemented them,” Moody’s office said.

“Price also confirmed that ICE is removing more than seven times fewer inadmissible immigrants than in 2012, booking in roughly half the number of immigrants than the previous administration.”

Epoch Times Photo
In this image from video, Corey Price, the executive associate director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, speaks during a Sept. 9, 2022, deposition. (Florida Attorney General’s Office via The Epoch Times)

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in its annual report on 2021 released this past November, said the state had a 10 percent increase in drug overdose deaths in 2021, with spikes in those caused by fentanyl and benzodiazepines.

The latter are depressants like librium and valium, used variously to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, and seizures.

Drugs were found in the bodies of more than 16,000 fatalities, of the nearly 37,000 that medical examiners investigated. Of those, 8,411 were opioid-related.

The leading drug present in examined fatalities was alcohol, in 6,511, narrowly ahead of fentanyl, the FDLE report said. But fentanyl was by far the leading drug-related cause of death, responsible for 6,442 deaths, more than the next two drug-related causes of death combined, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Fentanyl-caused deaths were up 6 percent over the previous year.

Dan M. Berger

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