The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has revealed that 10 miles of border wall is currently being completed per week, setting up the Trump administration to finish its goal of 450 miles of new border wall before the end of the year. Currently, 341 new miles have been completed, 240 new miles are under construction and 157 miles are in the pre-construction process.
This is a significant win for both DHS and the American people. Despite lower apprehension numbers than last year, the southern border continues to be plagued by drug trafficking and human smuggling. However, the criminal cartels involved in these activities are increasingly forced to find areas where there is either no wall, or the barrier is insufficient. The previous wall was ineffective, damaged and weak in many areas. Old fencing is being replaced with 18 to 30-foot steel bollard-style wall, allowing for fewer agents to patrol more border and resulting in a more effective approach to security.
This new construction serves a massive punch to drug cartels who rely on unguarded or weak points in the border to successfully smuggle drugs into the United States. In 2019, nearly 71,000 Americans died from a drug overdose, 70 percent of those deaths involved opioids like fentanyl, much of which is produced in China and then transited through Mexico. The new wall is forcing drug smugglers to try to enter through ports of entry, resulting in record numbers of drug seizures for FY 2020. In fact, twice as many hard drugs have been seized in President Trump’s first term compared to all eight years of the Obama administration. By diverting drugs to the ports, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have the advantage of lights, drug-sniffing dogs, high-tech equipment, and essential back-up, unlike operations in remote parts of the border.
The wall works, plain and simple. A dynamic border wall system provides essential layers of protection for the American people. The costs of construction should be viewed as an investment which will provide a huge return in the future, not only in terms of fiscal benefits, but also its invaluable role in combating trafficking of all kinds. Cartels will always be searching for new ways to circumvent border security, but a comprehensive border wall makes their job significantly harder and increases the likelihood of being intercepted by CBP.