A Border Wall Basically Sets an XPRIZE for Criminals to Penetrate Our Border

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

The post A Border Wall Basically Sets an XPRIZE for Criminals to Penetrate Our Border appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

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

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Trump’s Border Wall Won’t Solve Our Heroin Crisis

The opioid prescription problem in the U.S. is perpetuated by drug companies, Sanho Tree tells CCTV.

“Airwaves are flooded with prescription drug ads. There’s a pill for every problem,” Tree said.

People begin to abuse prescription drugs and then look for a cheaper version on the black market, Tree said. Then the DEA cracks down on heroin, so drug dealers find ways to stretch their profit, namely by mixing heroin with much more potent drugs.

“This is a very predictable trajectory,” Tree said. “Prohibition breeds substitutes that are often more dangerous, more problematic, more difficult to stop.”

And of course, the more we escalate the war on drugs, the more valuable drugs become to produce and smuggle, Tree said.

Building a bigger wall between the U.S. and Mexico, as Trump’s suggested, only incentivizes drug traffickers to find more innovative ways to get across the border.

Setting up an ‘x’ prize to find creative ways to cross U.S. borders is, from a national security standpoint, “not an incentive we want to create,” Tree said.

Instead, Tree said we should follow the Portugal model, which has decriminalized possession of drugs and divested from law enforcement to invest in treatment programs.

Watch the full interview here.

The post Trump’s Border Wall Won’t Solve Our Heroin Crisis appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

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

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