Trump’s Border Wall Is Foiling The Illegal Drug Trade

border wall
An Army Corps of Engineers unit installs a section of border barrier near Yuma. (Photo by Vincent Mouzon/Army Corp of Engineers)

President Trump’s border security policies are working exactly as intended — and our success in stopping the flow of illegal drugs into America is proof.

In the space of just 72 hours, U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized more than $2 million worth of fentanyl, cocaine, and other illegal drugs in the San Diego Sector alone.

This wasn’t the only recent high-profile drug bust, either. Just one day after the San Diego-area seizure, agents in the Yuma, Arizona sector seized enough fentanyl to kill more than half a million people. In January, Border Patrol agents in Texas thwarted several major drug smuggling operations, confiscating more than $1 million in illegal narcotics. And it was only a little over a year ago that agents in Arizona made the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history, seizing 254 pounds of the deadly narcotic that was hidden within a load of cucumbers.

All these large-scale drug busts are happening for a reason — President Trump has dramatically improved security along the U.S.-Mexico border by giving the men and women of Border Patrol the tools they need to keep the country safe.

Shortly after taking office, the President signed an executive order directing executive departments and agencies “to deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border,” and to “prevent further illegal immigration” into the U.S. He then set about making sure they would have the resources to accomplish that monumental task.

Despite relentless Democrat obstruction, for instance, President Trump secured funding for the border wall by using his statutory authority to reallocate funding to deal with the national emergency of rampant illegal immigration. He has also used his executive powers to eliminate legal loopholes, such as overly generous asylum policies,  that illegal immigrants were previously able to exploit in order to circumvent America’s immigration laws.

Contrary to the politicized reporting of the mainstream press, the President’s border wall always had a dual strategic purpose. Not only does it prevent illegal immigrants, including dangerous criminals and human traffickers, from infiltrating American communities, but it also forces drug traffickers to smuggle their wares through designated ports of entry — a much more difficult proposition.

Even as he was implementing these steps to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border in between checkpoints, President Trump made it a priority to provide Border Patrol with state-of-the-art inspection equipment that makes it far more difficult for criminals to smuggle drugs through U.S. customs.

“When the press talks about ports of entry, sure, things go through ports of entry, but we’re going to have that very well sealed up with this equipment,” the President explained last year, adding that the “incredible” new technology was already being installed “as we speak.”

Indeed, one of the primary reasons for building the border wall was to let America’s immigration enforcement agencies allocate their limited resources more efficiently. Each mile of additional wall that we build is one less mile that agents have to patrol manually, and one less opportunity for drug smugglers to slip through the cracks. The Trump administration has already completed more than 120 miles of new barriers, and aims to finish a total of 450 miles by the end of the year.

This approach is overwhelmingly supported by the men and women of Border Patrol. In fact, a 2018 survey found that 89 percent of line agents believe that a “wall system in strategic locations is necessary to securing the border.” Note that they didn’t say that a wall would be “helpful” or “welcome;” they said “necessary.”

President Trump has been right from the very beginning — securing the border with physical barriers is the single most effective measure we can take to keep drug smugglers at bay.

Art Del Cueto is Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council.