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WASHINGTON — Illegal border crossings have gone up significantly over the last year and a half and with it the number of illegal drugs seized at the border during these crossings.

This is not being disputed by the White House. Sen. Mike Braun was able to question White House experts on the subject in a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

“Since 2021, January, 3.2 million migrants have crossed the border illegally,” Braun said in the hearing. “We’ve intercepted 1.2 million pounds of illegal drugs, 16,000 pounds of fentanyl. That’s enough to kill the (American) population ten times over.”

Braun questioned Kemp Chester with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in particular. He wanted to know if the way the Biden Administration is handling the situation at the border is aggravating drug traffickers into pushing harder to bring illegal drugs into the U.S.

Chester said that it’s much broader than just the southern border.

“The problem doesn’t begin and end at the southwest border, but rather it is deep in the country where those drugs are produced,” Chester said. “It is the conveyances that move them and their raw materials around the world and they are shipped in a variety of ways into our communities.”

Because of this, Chester said they are approaching the problem “holistically” rather than just focusing on the border when it comes to drugs.

Still, Braun pressed further on how it relates to the number of illegal border crossings and how building President Trump desired border wall might have helped.

“(The wall) was our most important tool, along with the Stay In Mexico Policy,” Braun said. “So how do you explain why it’s gone from 40,000 to 60,000 illegal crossings to over 300,000?”

Chester, as an expert on the drug trafficking portion of the problem, could not speak to whether the halting of wall construction or the Stay In Mexico policy would keep border crossings from getting worse. Instead, he eluded to the White House’s request for additional funding to help stop the movement of drugs into the U.S.