WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today voted to confirm Kevin McAleenan to lead Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after McAleenan agreed during his confirmation hearing to work with Brown to prioritize fentanyl detection technologies. McAleenan cleared the Senate Finance Committee in January with Brown’s support. As the head of CBP, McAleenan will play a key role in implementing Brown’s bill, the INTERDICT Act, to give CBP tools to detect fentanyl at the border. President Trump signed Brown’s bill into law in January.
“Kevin McAleenan has been clear in his commitment to strengthening his agency’s role in combatting the opioid epidemic,” said Brown. “I look forward to working with him to keep deadly drugs like fentanyl out of Ohio communities.”
At the Finance Committee hearing to consider McAleenan’s nomination, Brown asked McAleenan to confirm that access to these screening devices would help CBP keep fentanyl out of the U.S.
McAleenan vowed to work with Brown saying, “Technology to both identify fentanyl in shipments and to test it effectively is absolutely essential to successful interdiction, and interdicting fentanyl and prioritizing technologies that help us do it better will absolutely be a priority.”
Brown’s INTERDICT Act will provide CBP with additional hi-tech screening equipment and lab resources to detect fentanyl before it enters the U.S.
Several state and national law enforcement organizations, including the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the Buckeye State Sheriffs’’ Association, supported INTERDICT. INTERDICT was also supported by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and Brown is supporting Portman’s STOP Act, which is also endorsed by law enforcement. The two bills work together to help block the deadly synthetic opioid from reaching Ohio communities.
Brown’s law authorizes funding for new screening devices, laboratory equipment, facilities, and personnel for 24x7 lab support. The money will be used to:
- Provide more portable chemical screening devices at ports of entry and mail and express consignment facilities and additional fixed chemical screening devices available in CBP laboratories.
- Provide CBP with sufficient resources, personnel, and facilities — including scientists available during all operational hours — to interpret screening test results from the field.
Providing CBP with more screening devices and lab support will not only stop more Fentanyl from coming into the U.S., it will also protect more agents in the field from exposure to dangerous substances.