President Donald Trump has spent nearly the entirety of his presidency attempting to secure funding for a wall along the border of Mexico. While Trump claims that the wall would stop immigration, many people believe the wall is not an effective solution for the issue. However, some experts have argued that ending the War on Drugs would help America’s current immigration issue.
Here are six ways ending the War on Drugs is better than a border wall:
Trump and other conservatives often say that large bands of migrants coming towards the United States are doing so to take jobs or enjoy American benefits. But in reality, many of these people are fleeing countries in Central America that are being torn apart due to violence between the government and drug cartels. Continuing the War on Drugs and prohibitionist policies helps empower these cartels and leads to this violence. So if we ended the War on Drugs, we’d also be able to reduce the number of refugees coming to the United States.
2. A Wall Isn’t Really a Deterrent
To be honest, not many conservatives think a border wall is a good policy for stopping illegal immigration. One survey found that two-thirds of Mexicans say they would come to America if they had the ability to do so. A wall is probably not going to stop them. And it’s certainly not a good policy to stop illegal drug smuggling. Government reports show that most drugs are brought into the United States through ports of entry, not the unsecured parts of the border where Trump wants to build his wall. So basically putting up a border wall won’t help stop drug smuggling, but making dramatic changes to the War on Drugs could.
3. Authoritarian Leaders
The United States often promotes and aids leaders in Central and South America who take a hardline on the War on Drugs. Unfortunately, many of these leaders are often authoritarian and don’t push social welfare programs or reforms that would help reduce poverty and make their countries more attractive places to live. So when you promote leaders who only care about the War on Drugs and not fighting poverty, don’t be surprised if poor people begin fleeing those countries to come to the United States.
4. Drug Cartels Aren’t the Only Ones Committing Violence
While drug cartels are obviously bad and commit horrible acts of violence, governments fighting the War on Drugs are often not any better. They assassinate, torture and kidnap citizens without due process. And these policies are at the best overlooked and at worst encouraged by America’s War on Drugs. Removing support for the War on Drugs would reduce the amount of these acts by governments and hopefully make it a safer place for people to live.
While Trump has attempted to tie the opioid crisis to illegal immigration as a way to justify building his Wall, it’s actually marijuana that’s the focus of many smugglers along the southern border. Marijuana accounts for 90 percent of the drugs found at the Mexican border by U.S. authorities. If the United States were to legalize marijuana nationally and allow legal sales throughout, drug smugglers would have to focus on other ways to make money since Americans would no longer need to rely on illegal cannabis.
As we mentioned, the border wall would probably not stop illegal immigration in a noticeable way. So we’d basically just sink $5 billion into an immigration solution that wouldn’t solve anything. Meanwhile, ending the War on Drugs would save the U.S. government billions of dollars. That’s billions of dollars that could go to immigration policies that have a chance to work.