AP FACT CHECK: Trump pitches wall as magic bullet for drugs

President Donald Trump made an untenable case Saturday that a Mexican border wall would be a magic bullet for America's drug problem.

Posted: Jan. 19, 2019 7:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump made an untenable case Saturday that a Mexican border wall would be a magic bullet for America's drug problem.

Drugs from Mexico are primarily smuggled into the U.S. at official border crossings, not remote lands that can be walled off. His proposal to end the government shutdown implicitly recognizes that reality by proposing money to improve drug-detection technology specifically at land ports of entry. Even so, Trump pitched a wall as a solution to drugs and crime.

A look at his remarks:

TRUMP: "If we build a powerful and fully designed see-through steel barrier on our southern border, the crime rate and drug problem in our country would be quickly and greatly reduced. Some say it could be cut in half."

TRUMP, on the virtues of a wall: "We can stop heroin."

THE FACTS: His argument flies in the face of findings by his government about how drugs get into the county. It also contradicts a multitude of studies that conclude people in the country illegally do not commit violent crime at a higher rate than other people.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says "only a small percentage" of heroin seized by U.S. authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry. It says the same is true of drugs overall.

In a report , the agency said the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers as they drive into the U.S. though entry ports, where they are stopped and subject to inspection. They also use buses, cargo trains and tunnels, the report says, citing other smuggling methods that also would not be choked off by a border wall.

Even if a wall could stop all drugs from Mexico, America's drug problem would be far from over.

The U.S. Centers on Disease Control and Prevention says about 40 percent of opioid deaths in 2016 involved prescription painkillers. Those drugs are made by pharmaceutical companies. Some feed the addiction of people who have prescriptions; others are stolen and sold on the black market. Moreover, illicit versions of powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl have come to the U.S. from China.

As well, many researchers have found that people in the U.S. illegally are less likely to commit crime than U.S. citizens and legal immigrants - except, that is, for the crime of being illegally in the country. A March study by the journal Criminology, for example, said states with larger shares of illegal immigration had lower crime rates between 1990 and 2014, and "undocumented immigration does not increase violence."

The libertarian Cato Institute has reached similar conclusions in a series of studies. One found that people living illegally in Texas had 56 percent fewer criminal convictions than native-born Americans in the state, as a percentage of their respective populations.

___

DEA report:

https://www.dea.gov/documents/2018/10/02/2018-national-drug-threat-assessment-ndta

CATO report:

https://www.cato.org/publications/immigration-research-policy-brief/their-numbers-demographics-countries-origin

___

Find AP Fact Checks at

http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

Follow APFactCheck on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/APFactCheck

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

1/19/2019 6:18:20 PM (GMT -5:00)

Article Comments

Terre Haute
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 37°
Robinson
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Indianapolis
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 32°
Rockville
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Casey
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 39°
Brazil
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Marshall
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 37°
Starting off cool, but ending sunny & warm.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Windy and cold

Image

Good Friday Jonah Fish Fry

Image

Junior Beta Club Auction

Image

Next Step Passover

Image

Attempted Parke County jail escape

Image

The last freeze of the year

Image

Spring And Summer Weather

Image

Friday Evening Forecast

Image

Putting a hold on death? Change in Indiana death certificate process will shut the system down for f

Image

Moving day at the American Red Cross in Terre Haute

WTHI Events