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Trump Just Doesn't Understand the Border: Here Are the Facts

January 10, 2019 in Economics

By David Bier

David Bier

President Trump took to television on Tuesday to make his case
that the lack of a border wall has caused a “crisis.”
Drugs, terrorism, crime and the illegal immigration of children all
featured prominently as supposed justifications for spending
billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars on the project. Yet upon close
examination, the President’s justifications fall flat. The
border has problems, but the President doesn’t understand
them, and some of them he has caused himself.

The President cited stopping drug smuggling as a primary goal of
his border barrier. Far from a crisis, however, the value of drug
seizures by the average Border Patrol agent actually declined 70% since 2013. That’s because
marijuana is the primary drug smuggled between ports of entry,
where a border wall would go, and marijuana has been legalized in
so many states that demand is being filled domestically.

While Trump acted as if the absence of a border wall were the
primary cause of the opioid crisis, the average inspector at ports
of entry in 2018 seized eight times more cocaine, 17 times more
fentanyl, 23 times more methamphetamine and 36 times more heroin
than the average Border Patrol agent seized at the physical border
in early 2018. The hard drugs that Trump claims to care about
aren’t coming where Trump thinks they are.

Trump’s policies have
created a real problem, but his border wall is not the fix the
system needs. America needs to overhaul its outdated immigration
system.

As importantly, building hundreds of miles of border fence from
2005 to 2009 did nothing to deter smuggling between ports of entry
anyway. The average Border Patrol agent was seizing the same quantity of marijuana
after the current fences went up as before. When marijuana was
legalized in several states starting in 2014, marijuana seizures
suddenly dropped 78% — legalization, not the wall, stopped
the narcotraffickers.

The President could not help but raise the specter of terrorists
crossing illegally. The fact is that a foreign terrorist has not carried out a single terrorist attack
in more than four decades after crossing the border illegally.
Trump officials have
cited
a number of “special interest aliens” whom
Border Patrol apprehended, but those aren’t terrorists – they are just
people who come from “countries of interest.” They
could be a family fleeing terrorists, like the Syrian Christians
who showed up at the border in 2015.

It would not be a “security crisis” without numerous
“criminals and gangs.” Yet Border Patrol figures show
that the agency arrested less than 1,000 border crossers who
had …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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