CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — There are major concerns across the U.S. about security and safety at the southern border with Mexico. And it is an issue that touches our region as well.

This is a big, divisive political issue, but it is also an issue of national and local security.

Right now, thousands of people from Mexico and Central America are amassed at the Southern Border. That’s because at midnight Title 42 will come an end. That was a policy from the Trump administration that automatically required anyone entering the U.S. without permission to be immediately returned to their home nation.

Title 42 was borne out of health concerns when COVID-19 was spiking. Now, many Democrats want the migrants to be treated with compassion and immigration hearings. But Republicans say deadly fentanyl continues to pour in from Mexico and is fueling the opioid crisis in Appalachia.

“Well, in 2020, over 1,000 West Virginians were killed just with fentanyl. I think it is number three out of the four drug deaths right now in West Virginia. And the overdose deaths, it’s just mind-boggling,” said Rep. Carol Miller, (R) West Virginia.

“This extreme MAGA Republican piece of legislation will throw out children who are fleeing in many cases,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, (D) New York – Minority Leader.

Part of the political dispute lies in what to do for people seeking asylum. Democrats want them to be allowed to stay the U.S. for their own safety. But Republicans say those immigration hearings often take seven or eight years to schedule, and the migrants can simply blend into the population, undetected.

According to Congresswoman Carol Miller, more than 100,000 Americans died from fentanyl overdoses in 2021 alone.