This letter to the editor was published in the Washington Post on July 17, 2023.

How often does U.S. Customs and Border Protection find fentanyl on migrants crossing outside “lawful” entry points? Just 0.02 percent of the time. Meanwhile, more than 90 percent of the fentanyl seizures happening at border checkpoints, and in most of those cases, the drug is smuggled, sold and consumed by U.S. citizens.

In case basic math doesn’t appeal to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) or Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), mobilizing National Guard troops to the southern border makes even less sense as a deterrent. Border enforcement has a long history of only killing or harming more immigrants.

As an attorney with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, I work alongside immigrants coming through the southern border who are fleeing persecution, political instability and natural disasters. They are overwhelmingly seeking safety in the form of asylum, a right guaranteed to them by international and U.S. law. So, it makes little sense for them to sneak fentanyl across the border, as it could prevent them from being granted asylum or any other legal immigration status.

Let’s stop blaming fentanyl’s proliferation on migrants. If all migration stopped tomorrow, we would wake up to the exact same overdose crisis because — to reiterate — immigrants have little to nothing to do with trafficking drugs. If Mr. Youngkin were serious about saving lives, he would focus his efforts at home instead of participating in political stunts and pointing fingers (and weapons) at displaced people who have essentially nothing to do with fentanyl. Nothing else adds up.