Media Contacts:
Sanho Tree, stree@igc.org, 202-494-8004
Domenica Ghanem, domenica@ips-dc.org, 202 787 5205

In his first week Trump signed an executive action to begin the immediate construction of a Mexican border wall.

This is the response from Institute for Policy Studies Drug Policy expert Sanho Tree, who has been analyzing the drug war for nearly two decades.

“The first thing to know is that we already have a lot of this wall in place at the Mexican border, and ever since the wall was built, drug traffickers have developed sophisticated counter measures to get across it. By building walls we’ve basically set up an XPRIZE for bad guys to penetrate our borders, exacerbating the risk to our national security rather than alleviating it.

In earlier days, traffickers built ramps to drive over it, catapults and compressed air cannons to launch drugs over it, and tunnels with rail systems, electricity, and ventilation to push drugs under it. At the same time, traffickers took the sea route and bypassed the wall – starting with speedboats, advancing to narco submarines, and even using drug torpedoes attached under ships. Other traffickers went airborne using small planes, old airliners, and now ultralights and drones.

It is very stupid and very dangerous to incentivize drug cartels to find new and innovative ways to penetrate our borders. If they decide to work with terrorists some day, our country could face a terrifying national security threat of our own making.”

Available for comment:
Sanho Tree, stree@igc.org, 202-494-8004

Sanho Tree directs the Drug Policy project at the Institute for Policy Studies.