Border wall

Drug Smugglers Have Already Beaten Trump's Wall


During a speech announcing his intention to seek the presidency, Donald Trump stumbled on what would become a signature issue for his campaign: Mexico. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with them. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime."

The "great, great wall" Trump wants to build isn't just aimed at stopping the people from crossing illegally into the United States; it's also supposed to stop the narcotics. But it isn't going to work.

To be blunt, the U.S. government is not likely to outspend the drug cartels at the border. Even if Trump is willing to put up the $21.6 billion the Department of Homeland Security estimates constructing a barrier would cost, the illegal drug trade is a $350 billion international business, according to the United Nations World Drug Program. A 2014 report from RAND Corp. estimated the American drug market for the four most prevalent illicit drugs—cannabis, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines—at $100 billion annually. The profit incentives to find ways over, under, around, or through any border infrastructure are high, and the cartels have more than enough money to spend on R&D.

Drug smugglers are already using a wide range of techniques to move merchandise across the border, and doing so quite successfully. On the low-tech end of the spectrum are so-called drug mules. Immigrants wishing to cross the border and their coyotes, or paid guides, must first pay tribute to the cartel that controls the plaza, or approach to the border. The payment may be in cash, but it often also includes an agreement by the migrants to carry drug loads with them as they cross. This is actually a pretty high-risk import strategy: If the mules are caught, the cartels lose the drugs. But more often than not, the smugglers are using migrants as a decoy to draw the attention of the Border Patrol while they move larger loads across elsewhere.

Current border infrastructure, such as steel mesh fencing, is easy enough to cut through with a Sawzall, and such half-moon gashes are everywhere, especially in places such as San Diego. A 2009 Government Accountability Office report said Congress would have to spend $6.5 billion over 20 years just to repair the existing fencing.

Another low-tech method to foil existing infrastructure involves using catapults to launch bales of drugs over the fence. One such device, discovered in February on the Arizona border, was actually attached to the Mexican side of the fence. Some barriers, such as the four-inch steel tubes cemented vertically into the ground and placed four inches apart that are used in parts of the Arizona desert, can prevent people from crossing but are easy enough pass three-inch packages of heroin through. An actual wall would stop this particular type of small-bore smuggling, but these transactions account for very little of the overall traffic.

Cross-border smuggling tunnel in a San Diego warehouse. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Instead, billions of dollars and thousands of tons of drugs are smuggled through authorized ports of entry every year, hidden in compartments in cars, trucks, and railcars. Customs and Border Protection officers use sophisticated X-rays and gamma radiation detectors to find these loads and seize tons of narcotics that way each year. But the very fact that officials are still capturing large shipments—such as the 4,000 pounds of marijuana disguised as limes found last month at a Texas port of entry—on a regular basis means it must still be profitable for the smugglers to attempt it. It's just a cost of doing business to them.

There are high-tech smuggling efforts as well. The preferred method for water-based trafficking has moved from fast boats in the style made famous by Miami Vice in the 1980s, to pangas, or open-outboard boats running up the Pacific coast, after that, to homemade submarines in the last decade, including semi-submersibles that hover just under the surface to keep a low profile. The latter are piloted by one to four very brave souls, since they very often sink before reaching land. Newer efforts involve fully submersible submarines and drug "torpedoes" that are towed beneath a surface vessel far under the water. These can carry as much as 12 tons of narcotics.

And then there are the tunnels. Hundreds have been found running under the U.S.-Mexico border in the last decade. For a million dollars, a cartel can bore a passage complete with ventilation, lighting, and cart rails, and make that money back with just one successful load of heroin or cocaine. Infamous drug lord El Chapo's Sinaloa cartel has been the most effective in history at tunneling.

The cartels have also used manned ultralight aircraft to carry bundles over the border fences. In 2012, the National Geographic series Border Wars captured dramatic footage of an ultralight dumping bundles of marijuana into the United States. Drones can transport high-profit, low-weight drugs such as heroin, as evidenced by a 2015 bust in which two men were arrested retrieving 28 pounds of product after an unmanned device carried it across the border and dropped it along the side of Route 98 in Imperial, California. Although the use of sophisticated aerial surveillance, such as "tethered aerostat" blimps, has decreased these incursions, they do continue.

Submarines, drones, and tunnels are seen as capital investments for the cartels. When one avenue is interdicted, they shift to another, or back to something they previously employed. And if that doesn't work, they can take that same million dollars and use it to bribe a corrupt border official; this strategy could become more common if under Trump the border becomes more fortified.

In short, as long as the demand for drugs remains high, the chances that the U.S. government spending between $12 billion and $20 billion dollars on a wall will significantly diminish the cartels' ability to get their wares into the United States is anything but "yuge."

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  1. I don’t think the primary selling point of the wall is to stop drug trafficking. I think its appeal to the voters who support it is mostly about illegal immigration. A lot of it is signaling–a lot of Americans are sick of hearing about how controlling our own borders is virtually impossible.

    For the hundredth time, wanting an expansive legal immigration policy or an end to the drug war doesn’t require us to capitulate to smugglers.

    Prosecuting child abusers, arsonists, rapists, and armed robbers isn’t about to prevent those things from happening in the future either. If we want public support for a free society, however, we need to uphold the law on those crimes anyway. Likewise, if we want an open border with Mexico, public support for that is probably contingent on reassuring people that we can keep out the bad guys and will prosecute people for breaking the law.

    I think any Mexican citizen who isn’t a convicted felon, isn’t a known cartel member, etc. should be free to go back and forth across the border by simply showing a reliable ID. Public support for that will never materialize so long as the American people remain convinced that reasonably securing our border against those we’d reject is impossible.

    Let’s find a better narrative.

    1. Except that securing the border is and will remain impossible *unless* those Mexicans who aren’t conviceted felons, etc can travel back and forth on a simple ID. Or at least impossible unless you’re willing to turn the US into an armed camp and police state with internal travel visas, mandatory ID, warrantless searches everywhere, etc. In fact – that stuff will do more to contain illegal immigration than this idiotic wall could ever do.

      Otherwise there is simply too much illegal traffic to sort through.

      1. The way to GET the law changed so that Mexicans who aren’t serious trouble can travel across the border freely, is tomato it so that the people who re hiring them now as illegals can’t get them any other way.

        Right now, exploiting illegal immigrants who can’t go to the law for better treatment is profitable. Dry up the supply of illegals, and start fining the employers who get caught, and the laws will get changed. Leave the supply flowing freely, and they won’t.

        1. So you want a world where all hiring decisions must be preapproved by the government?

          1. Just for the record, I’m not on board with fining anybody for hiring whomever they want.

            Freedom of association, yo!

          2. So the ability to hire illegals or not is your definition of “all hiring decisions must be oreapproved by the government”?


            1. If you’re going to fine people or subject them to criminal prosecution because of whom they hire, then why is it wrong to think of it as needing the government’s approval?

              Freedom of association means I get to choose whom I hire to mow my lawn and babysit my kids. Why should the coercive power of government be used to impose your opinion on other people?

            2. If the government should not be able to make you bake a cake for a gay wedding, the government should also not be able to prevent you from hiring whomever you want.

            3. You already have to get all hiring decisions approved by the government – at least in this arena. If you have been hired at any point in the last 20 some odd years you’ve gone through the process. One form of ID from column A, Two from column B…. whatever the stupid form was.

              Remember, this was the formula that lead to the last Amnesty Compromise. If we make citizens out of 20 million illegals we will promise to never, never, never-ever do it again. And we will make all illegal immigration go away by making sure that nobody can get a job anywhere in the USA if they are not citizens. And we will super-duper enforce it against employers.

              So what happened? They super-duper enforce it against office workers in corporate America so you have to go dig out your passport and birth certificate and find that social security card in the file cabinet somewhere…. but they don’t enforce it at all in industries that rely on illegal immigrant labor, like agriculture, construction, hospitality…. So….. the whole thing was pointless.

              And now we have libertarians suggesting that we just need to do the same thing that we already did way back when Hillary’s biggest controversies were over baking cookies and who can ride in her limousine.

              1. Holy shit Cyto, you have a memory! And yeah, the whole employer screening thing has fallen on it’s face repeatedly. I don’t have an answer, but I know that so far all answers put forward have been failures.

                Also, the most successful anti-immigration effort yet was the financial crises. Shooting our economy in the face got rid of more illegal aliens than any previous measure. Oops!

            4. How else are they going to enforce it?

              I suppose they could check after the fact and then fine employers who have hired illegals.

      2. Securing our borders isn’t creating a police state and doesn’t necessitate internal travel visas.

        Gaining public support for Mexican citizens being able to go back and forth across the border with an ID check necessitates reassuring American voters that our border is secure.

        Being able to keep out those we exclude is a necessary step in the direction of letting people through with a simple ID check (without needing a visa).

        We need to be able to exclude those who fail the ID check before the American people will accept that form of open borders.

        Insisting that the border cannot be secured so we shouldn’t minimize illegal border crossings just destroys support for open borders. It’s like insisting that drug deals need to be free to sell drugs to children so we can get rid of the drug war. Not only would that be factually incorrect, it would also needlessly destroy critical support for getting rid of the drug war.

        Give up on the idea that securing our borders is unpossible. It’s like the idea that it’s okay to sell drugs to children in that, in the market of ideas, nowhere near enough people will buy the argument that reasonably securing our borders is unpossible.

        1. 1. I didn’t say securing our borders makes us a police state. I said the only way to secure them while we have the current immigration quota levels is to become a police state. There is a difference.

          2. You can exclude those who fail the ID check – their only recourse is to attempt an illegal entry. And now, without so many otherwise harmless people streaming across, they’re easier to find.

        2. Can we agree to only let hot chicks in? Then identifying the lawbreakers becomes very, very simple.

          1. I think there’s an excellent case to be made for letting Swedish women under a certain age in on an asylum basis. I mean, if these poor souls are being targeted because of the way they look, then it’s only right that America reaches out to help them.

            Also, women from Ukraine.

            1. And Budapest. They are priority one.

          2. I am on board 100%. And they each need to have an aging libertarian sponsor who will provide… uhm… mentoring. Yeah, that’s it. Mentoring.

        3. Securing our borders isn’t creating a police state and doesn’t necessitate internal travel visas.

          Actually, we are there. Since the border is, by law, 100 miles deep, all of Florida is covered, and you can be required to “show your papers” at any time.

      3. Mexicans can travel across the border legally with ID. They just can’t go very far into the US. I don’t know if this free travel is restricted to residents of the towns or states on the immediate other side of the border but there is a lot of legal cross border foot, bus and auto traffic from Matamoros to Brownsville and Juarez to El Paso. I assume the same goes for everything in between and to the West in NM,AZ, and CA.

        1. All that legal traffic is citizens, naturalized citizens, residence permit holders, and visa travel.

          “All Mexican citizens planning to visit the United States must first obtain a visa prior to arrival at the border. ”

          I can walk into Mexico whenever I want, Mexicans must get pre-approval before going the other way.

    2. Let’s find a better narrative.

      Don’t you mean: let’s adopt Ken’s narrative?

    3. I think any Mexican citizen who isn’t a convicted felon, isn’t a known cartel member, etc. should be free to go back and forth across the border by simply showing a reliable ID.

      Most of the violence in our country is done at the ballot box. Immigrants support bigger government.

    4. Now about NOT exporting the christianofascist prohibitionism and asset-forfeiture laws that cripple the Mexican economy in the first place? Surely the lessons of the 2007 asset-forfeiture crash must’ve sunk in somewhere, right?

  2. According to Narcotic News a kilo of cocaine in Columbia costs about $1800. A kilo of cocaine in Phoenix is worth $17,000 – $22,500. At $20,000 a kilo thats a $18,200 profit for getting 2.2 pounds of powder across the border.

    We’ve fought this Drug War for 40 years now. Drugs are cheaper and easier to get than when we started this war against our own people.

    Trust me, for an $18,200 profit they will find a way over, under, or around tis Trumped up wall.

  3. If we appropriate Mexico our southern border becomes much smaller.

    1. That would solve a great many problems, though it would create a few new ones. We could send the idiots current misgoverning places like Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco to govern Mexico and probably improve the governance at both ends. Pursuing the drug cartels would be easier if they were bribing OUR officials instead of somebody else’s (after all a bribed official is already a traitor, so all you need to do is turn his treachery on your chosen target).

      But we aren’t an Imperial nation, and would do a bad job of being one. And what I fear is that we are headed in that direction anyway. It won’t be good for us, and it won’t be pleasant for the people we colonize.

      OTOH, it doesn’t take too many decades of rampant third world kleptocracy, mass murder and famine as tools of statecraft, and general vicious stupidity to make old fashioned Colonial Paternalism look awfully goddamned good.

      1. do we hate Mexicans so much that we want to inflict the leadership of Detroit, Chicago, and SF on them?

        1. How much would you like to have cheap beachfront property again? It would also be consistent with Reasons stance of no borders and cheap legal labor.

          1. From a certain point of view, it also fits in with the idea of extending the theory of natural rights to them since the United States is one of the few, or only, country on Earth that even pays lip service to them.

            Sadly though, it completely violates the NAP unless Mexico just goes ‘yeah, sure, we weren’t really doing anything with the place anyway.’

        2. It would be an improvement over the corrupt Mexican government that can’t even prosecute the cartels without literally losing their heads. At least, I think it would be at least a small improvement.

      2. I remember during one of the GOP debates Christie had suggested that if Mexico couldn’t deal with the cartels the US should. When the moderator wanted to clarify if that would include sending US law enforcement into Mexico to hunt down and arrest the cartel members if Mexico refused to do so, Christie said it certainly would. And nobody batted an eye that Christie had just suggested committing an act of war against Mexico. Drugs make people do and say crazy stupid stuff, but apparently the war on drugs has the same effect.

        1. Drugs make people do and say crazy stupid stuff, but apparently the war on drugs has the same effect.

          True that.

        2. Im not really worried about drugs (deciminalize it), but we should certainly invade mexico if they arent going to stop the violence surrounding immigration, sex trafficing, etc. We have a failed state run by organized crime on our border. How else do you deal with it?

      3. But at least it would end illegal immigration from Mexico!

    2. My idea was to just build hospitals and schools and shit down there and hire Mexicans to operate them, then we could provide them free entitlements much more cheaply than we do now.

  4. This article is so ridiculous and full of so many straw men that I hardly know where to start.

    So are fences around prisons useless because people can tunnel under them? Is the fence around the White House a waste of money because people can climb, jump, pole-vault, or cut their way through?

    Heck – I’m willing to bet that Reason’s staff works in a building with walls, and there are locks on the doors. This is despite the fact that a determined thief could break in with a sledgehammer. But you still lock your doors, right?

    Walls and fences are STATIC DEFENSES. They don’t stop an attacker, instead they slow them down enough that you have time to respond. They are NEVER used alone, but in conjunction with some kind of monitoring. Castles in the Middle Ages had walls, but they wouldn’t do much to stop an invader if there already wasn’t someone patrolling the walls.

    In the modern context, fences can be even better because we not only have the border patrol, but have the means to set up alarm signals and monitor activity along the fence with satellites, aircraft, aerostat balloons, and of course, drones!

    Obviously it works – because if it didn’t, the open borders crowd would shrug at the idea of a wall, instead of fighting it tooth and nail.

    1. So, if the wall gets built you predict that it will be very effective against drug smuggling? What percentage decrease do you think there’ll be in drugs coming into the U.S.?

      Obviously it works – because if it didn’t, the open borders crowd would shrug at the idea of a wall, instead of fighting it tooth and nail.

      No. The wall is a waste of money because it will likely be ineffective and more importantly is the wrong course of action to improve the problems associated with drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

    2. I do think articles like these tend to make “perfect as enemy of the good” arguments that could apply to any criminal market, including crimes with actual victims. For example the stolen property market is probably quite large. The hired assassin market is probably tiny, but also probably impossible to ever completely eliminate. No one would argue the difficulty in eliminating those markets due to there always being some level of demand, means we shouldn’t do our best.

    3. So are fences around prisons useless because people can tunnel under them? Is the fence around the White House a waste of money because people can climb, jump, pole-vault, or cut their way through?

      Silly, isn’t it? In fact, plane manufacturers are dumb too. Instead of just making the Blackbox capable of surviving a crash, they should make the whole plane from that same technology.

    4. Re: John Rohan,

      So are fences around prisons useless because people can tunnel under them?

      It’s so sweet when Trumpistas make these silly comparisons and equivocations.

      Prison walls are designed to keep people IN. And they surround a very small area, easy to watch. A wall along the border would have to be designed to keep people OUT. Those two concepts are NOT comparable.

      1. John’s argument, however, is still quite sound. His point is that lots of folks use walls, so it’s not absurd to have walls at a contentious border. Personally, I think most walls are pointless because they’re easily subverted, but people feel better by having them, for some reason.

        I’d much prefer that we have a secure border without a big wall. I’d like to see a series of kiosks where Mexicans could come to the US legally, along with SEVERE penalties for coming in illegally. I believe that would work much better and create an amicable atmosphere for the Mexicans who are, for the most part, friendly to the United States.

        1. No, his point is still ridiculous, because the wall will not surround the country. There are still two very large coasts and anyone with a boat can get in if they avoid the Coast Guard. Oh, and there is also this huge border to the north.

          1. So we make the perfect that enemy of the good. Since we cannot 100% hermetically seal off America, we shouldn’t even try to make it hard for people to come across without authorization?

            1. We’ve already made it quite hard, and people still do it. A wall will make it a bit harder, but not impossible. As long as there is work for poor immigrants they will come in somehow or other.

              What we need to do is make it easy for people to cross with authorization. Then people with legitimate, peaceful reasons to come here (and I include looking for work, even if not fully legal among those reasons) can enter at official crossings and you can monitor the border for bad hombres trying to cross.

              1. Easier to cross with authorization?

                The United States already takes in about 1 million immigrants per year, more than any other country in the world.

                How many more should it take?

          2. And it’s also ridiculous because (as he states) a wall that isn’t observed is just a speed bump. So, not just would we have have to spend a shit ton of money on the wall, we would then have to spend thousands of shit tons of money on the observation of the wall. “but electronic devices and blah blah blah”? Nope, they don’t work for crap and still remain useless without human oversight.

            “it’s not absurd to have walls at a contentious border”?? No, it’s absurd to spend ungodly amounts of money to build a wall and that doesn’t actually increase border security. This is not making “perfect the enemy of good”. This is making unimaginably-expensive-and-still-shitty the enemy of shitty.

            No one (or at least very few people) are saying we shouldn’t try to make it hard. It’s not like we’re doing nothing now. We already spending a shitload of money and fail to make a real dent in the flow of people.

            1. Ironically, the man accusing the writer of straw men attacks has had the temerity to use one in his rebuttal. If I was British, I would have already came.

    5. Its actually not the walls that stop people leaving a prison – its the people with guns who will kill you if you cross that line for any reason.

      1. And yet they still use walls. Why do you think that is?

        1. So its easier to shoot them.

          If you’re willing to shoot illegal immigrants then there’s really no reasoning with you.

          1. No, but the Border Patrol can intercept without shooting. I am going to assume that even in a prison, guards would not immediately shoot someone escaping, at least giving them a warning to stop first.

            1. That would probably require a couple of armed people every 1/4 mile or so along the whole border, 24 hours a day, and bright illumination at night along the whole thing. Possible, but not very practical.

              But even then, you probably just drive people to use different routes. People didn’t used to cross in the middle of the desert when they could more easily sneak in closer to populated areas. Close of the desert borders and people will come by boat, or tunnel, or smuggled in trucks or whatever they can think of.

              1. Rifles can shoot a lot further than 1/8 of a mile.
                Infrared sights are a lot cheaper than lights, and don’t give you away unless the bad guys use infrared goggles.

  5. Well sure, market prices are an incentive for cartels to get together and subvert anti-drug measures. But THAT is when we hit them with the full force of our racketeering and anti-monopoly laws!

  6. Moats.

    We need moats with alligators

    1. Florida has done its part.

      1. I took my son and one of his buddies fishing along alligator alley this weekend. The canal we fished in could accurately be described as a moat with alligators. Lots of alligators.

        Best fishing day in history. They each caught way over 50 fish, and we probably pulled in over 100lbs of keepers. Even better, I managed to get away with not keeping any of them – dad was in no mood to clean a bunch of Oscars and snakeheads. Slimy bastards. And the boys got way too excited about catching gar of various types. After the first couple, I was pretty well done with dealing with those teeth. Next time, I bring gloves.

        Anyway…. alligator alley lived up to its name. The boy hooked up a 6 foot alligator that tried to eat his bobber. They drew a modest crowd as the boys took turns trying to reel him in and thankfully the hook came free before I had to disappoint everyone by cutting the line. Thankfully it was the medium sized gator who grabbed the bobber and not one of the 10-footers that cruised by earlier. Those things go up in size in a kinda exponential way.

  7. Silly argument, it’s like saying that you should not put a lock on your front door because someone might pick it.

    1. I know someone who won’t lock his car because he is afraid it will encourage a thief to bust his side window to gain entry. Apparently not all thieves are attentive to details. As one recently broke his side window to get into the car, even though the car was unlocked.

      1. my Dad used to say to not lock a convertible since thieves will just cut the top and that cost more to fix.

        1. Quite true. Never lock your convertible, and never leave anything in it.
          A gang of thieves hit the underground garage at an apartment complex where I lived, and mine was the only one with intact windows. Everybody had their radio stolen (this was a LONG time ago), but I had no damage to the car at all. It was an MGB, and the thieves were kind enough to lift the snaps holding the top on, and reach inside to unlock the door. The radio was gone, but that was it.

    2. “Silly argument, it’s like saying that you should not put a lock on your front door because someone might pick it.”

      Silly strawman.
      It costs $100 to get a good lock on your door, and it stands a VERY good chance of preventing some huge percentage of thefts from your house.
      The wall costs $XBn, last I heard, all of it extracted from taxpayers at gunpoint and provides benefits no one has even specified.

    3. I found that locking the doors of my car was more expensive than not when a thief cut his way through the cloth roof.

      Like three hundred tops to replace a window, $1,200 just for a new top (not counting labor).

      1. Leaned that lesson the hard way back when I had a very nice Triumph TR7 convertible. I left it unlocked…. and someone still cut the top trying to get to my blaupunkt. And then they tore up a couple of bits of the dash trying to get at the stereo.. and didn’t manage to steal the stereo…. which wouldn’t have been too bright since I had the detachable face with me. Idiot.

        Pretty dang expensive – and at the time I was in school so I didn’t see the car for days, sometimes weeks at a time. And this particular time it rained and filled the foot wells with water…. which froze solid. Nice.

        Surprisingly, this wasn’t why I sold the car. It was the crap reliability. It was a really fun car …. when it was running right. After replacing a bunch of the electrics and then the water pump for the second time, I gave up and sold it. I haven’t owned a convertible since.

    4. I found that locking the doors of my car was more expensive than not when a thief cut his way through the cloth roof.

      Like three hundred tops to replace a window, $1,200 just for a new top (not counting labor).

      1. “Like three hundred tops to replace a window, $1,200 just for a new top (not counting labor).”

        I know you meant “three hundred, max, to replace a window”, but it was a bit confusing.
        Anyhow, I agree. If I parked the roadster in public and it wasn’t raining, I left the windows down, so there was no confusing the issue.
        And it was actually ‘left the side curtain out’…

    5. Comparing a large country with long land borders to someone’s house is a very silly metaphor. The country is not a house or a prison or anything like that. It’s a collection of people and their property and the government that presumes to rule them.

  8. Obviously there is an insatiable demand for drugs in the US. Must we continue to pay taxes, extracted at gun point to prohibit something that we want?

    Will our great leaders ever realize that drugs are good and prohibition thereof is bad? 50%of our police powers are squandered prosecuting this that engage in a victimless “crime”?

    Can we not turn the corner and jail those that would steal our property through asset forfeiture? Prosecute those that would kidnap (arrest) us for making a personal choice to use intoxicants that are not presently favored by the powers that be? And incarcerate this that destroy the prospects of a good future by encumbering us with acriminal record.

    Mick Jagger said it best: all the cops are criminals, all the sinners saints.

    1. “Mick Jagger said it best: all the cops are criminals, all the sinners saints.”

      To be fair, he was speaking as Satan. Right after that, he says:

      “As heads is tails,
      Just call me “Lucifer”.

      You don’t want to quote that one if you want people to believe you. The devil was bragging about being a bald-faced liar.

      Find a better quote.

      1. “Quoting pop-music lyrics is dumb.”

        1. Quoting, quoting pop music lyrics is dumb.

        2. Try telling that to the Nobel Prize committee.

  9. I’m pretty sure the cocaine fell out of the back of the truck coming up the ramp on the other side, since the back door was open. Kind of a stupid photo for the point the author is attempting to make.

    On a related point, I was in Mexico in January 2004 to climb some of the volcanoes. At a small town outside of one of them, the local guide had a block sized compound that had a big wall all the way around it. Inside, he had set up a bouldering wall for his clients, and what struck me most about it was that when I climbed to the top, I could see he had sharp glass embedded in the top of the wall, presumably to dissuade those attempting to climb in from the outside. So at least one Mexican believes in walls!

    1. How many people will make this stupid point?

      No one says that walls are always useless and a bad idea. Just that a wall on the southern border of the US is unlikely to be effective given the expense and practical considerations due to scale, geography, etc.

  10. So the country is just like someone’s house. Or a prison.

    1. Yes this country is like a prison just try doing anything without permission If your a U.S. citizen you are punished if your an illegal you get a free ticket home, so yes the U.S. is a giant prison

  11. Hey, here’s an idea, just make the damn drugs legal already. There is literally not a single reason to keep these drugs illegal except stupid, moralizing paternalism.

    1. Does the DEA’s budget not count as a reason?

    2. There are a ton of reasons to keep them illegal, but I won’t go into that right now. Even without drug smuggling, we would still have a problem of illegal immigration.

  12. Hitler walled off West Berlin to keep its migrants out. Think about out.

    1. That was before we dropped the nukes on him.

      1. Only after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

        1. True story:
          On a tour of China, we were welcomed to Chongqing by a guide who thanked all the Americans (most of the tour members) for supporting Claire Chennault ‘who won WWII for the Allies and China’.
          The US gov’t school system has undergone steady decline, but all the tour members were old enough to look at each other and keep silent.

  13. Christie, sessions, mcCain, Schumer.

  14. “Drug smugglers are already using a wide range of techniques to move merchandise across the border, and doing so quite successfully”
    So screw it. Don’t even bother.

    1. Sometimes that is the right solution. The cure can be worse than the disease.

  15. Well he’s already flip flopped on intervention in Syria so I expect he’ll do the same on the wall.

  16. RE: Drug Smugglers Have Already Beaten Trump’s Wall

    Would there be any wall if drugs were legal?
    I doubt it.

    1. Drugs are legal. You can buy aspirin, dramamine, athsmador, nutmeg, and glucosamine hydrochloride all day long. But “Drugs” are a different kettle of filch. “Drugs” are anything that might lower the price of alcohol, tobacco or coffee. THEM things is Walkin’ on the Fightin’ Side of Mean lobbyists, and don’t yew ferget it!

  17. If we don’t question the premise here, then the solution is obvious.

    Legalize the production, distribution, and sale of recreational drugs for adults. Aside from whatever boons and banes that creates, it should also tank the price of recreational drugs (at least, if they don’t tax it too highly), which will reduce the economic incentive for drug cartels to sneak stuff into the US. There would still be some smuggling I’m sure (especially if it’s cheaper to produce in wherever then in the US) but it would probably cut down a large part of it.

    And without the drug trade subsidizing access, illegal immigrants will probably find it more difficult to cross.

  18. The GO-Pee platform, the source of all of The Don’s pronouncements and chirps, called it a fence. All the Don did was overstate it just a smidgin.

  19. Prohibition provides free training to folks looking for ways to smuggle chemical or biological weapons into These States. But I’m certain the prohibitionists’ motives are altruistic, and therefore noble and good.

  20. No one is idiotic enough to think the wall will stop everyone. It is there to make it more difficult and improve the chances of interception. It will do both. I am for open borders, but calling the wall a failure because it can be beaten is not worthy of reason magazines readers. We aren’t that stupid.

  21. No one is idiotic enough to think the wall will stop everyone. It is there to make it more difficult and improve the chances of interception. It will do both. I am for open borders, but calling the wall a failure because it can be beaten is not worthy of reason magazines readers. We aren’t that stupid. Saying it is not worth the cost would be a reasonable attack I can agree with.

  22. No one is idiotic enough to think the wall will stop everyone. It is there to make it more difficult and improve the chances of interception. It will do both. I am for open borders, but calling the wall a failure because it can be beaten is not worthy of reason magazines readers. We aren’t that stupid. Saying it is not worth the cost would be a reasonable attack I can agree with.

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