One of Donald Trump’s biggest claims and promises to the American people was to build a ‘big, beautiful’ wall that would line the Mexican border. What was this wall supposed to do? Trump says that the wall will stop illegal immigration “… stop the drugs.” Drug smuggling and smuggling in general across the Mexican border has been around for decades and with this wall, Trump hopes to stop this from continuing. There are the classic techniques of underground tunnels, slinging drugs over the fences in capsules and hiding drugs in modes of transportation like freight trains. Will the wall help stop all of this?
To put it simply, No. It will only encourage and stimulate the drug smuggling industry. As the wall goes up and more effort is needed to transport and smuggle drugs across the border, the profit for smugglers will go up as well. Improving ‘defenses against immigrants’ only makes drugs more expensive, and subsequently, the income of these smugglers will increase with a few extra zeroes.
The cartels have taken advantage of this spike in profits, to maintain their multi-billion dollar business. The wall doesn’t slow down the process of smuggling, hinder it or stop it. It pushes the business into more complicated strategies and extremes, pushing smugglers deeper into weaker spots along the border and also appealing to vulnerable people in need of financial aid. It will not only make smugglers much more economically sufficient and make the business more attractive due to the flux in income.
Trump’s wall was not the first attempt to create a physical barrier between Mexico and the United States, there have been multiple periods where fences and gates were put up. Congress finally realised problems with funding and financially supporting the building of the wall, an initiative that they wouldn’t allocate money for when they passed the most recent budget.
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that it will cost approximately $21.6 billion to put up Trump’s wall, something the country isn’t ready to spend yet. The veteran Arizona Sheriff Tony Estrada, who has worked more than 50 years in law enforcement on the border, said that building a wall won’t stop smugglers but just make them more creative.
To financially disable cartels and individual smugglers, Trump needs to start looking elsewhere. Furthermore, the wall will only make the situation for undocumented immigrants worse. The problem is not them being in the country but them not having a system to seek citizenship with ease and without fear. Building a barrier only puts more money into the pockets of cartels, giving them more power. The drug industry will grow with the wall, not be stopped by the wall.