One of the central promises of Trump’s election campaign was the promise to build the huge wall on the US-Mexican border. This wall was used as the major symbol of the tightening of the immigration policy. Upon winning the elections, Trump decided not to put off his promises indefinitely but to start realizing them right away. In 2017, he signed a special executive order, according to which the Customs and Border Protection are obliged to construct a wall on the southern US-Mexican border. Apart from its symbolic role, the wall is likewise expected to prevent all forms of smuggling from drug smuggling to people smuggling. Regardless of Trump’s optimism about its effectivity, most experts believe that the construction of the wall should not have any substantial impact on smuggling rates.
To begin with, the effectivity of Trump’s wall should be considered separately for each type of smuggling because each type of smuggling has its specificity. For example, one of the motivations that Trump often refers to while explaining the need for the wall is that this wall will help to prevent drug smuggling. Trump’s optimism, however, is not shared by most experts who argue that the wall cannot make any significant difference to drug smuggling rates. The first reason why the border wall cannot resolve the drug smuggling problem is that drugs coming to the USA usually arrive hidden in specific vehicles or by routes other than the U.S.-Mexican terrain border (e.g. by plane or by sea) (Winter par. 2). More details about the specificity of drug smuggling can be found in the DEA report. Most importantly, this report demonstrates that the major part of all drugs that are now available in New Jersey have been delivered by human couriers traveling by way of commercial flights (Winter par. 5). It follows, then, that even if Trump’s wall helps to prevent some drugs’ entering the USA, these measures will be of no significance because the main drug flaws cannot be stopped by the wall.
Whereas some experts express moderate criticism about the effectivity of Trump’s wall as a solution to the drug smuggling problem, other experts claim that the construction of this wall can result in the degradation of the situation. Most notably, there is a hypothesis that the construction of the border wall should increase the delivery expenses for drug dealers. Trying to preserve their profit rates, these drug dealers should look for alternative solutions to reduce the prime cost of their product. The simplest way to do this is to adultery fentanyl into heroin. If they do this, the incidence of drug-related deaths should increase significantly (Alvarez par. 10). It follows, then, that the construction of the border wall is not an effective solution to the drug smuggling problem. In a best-case scenario, its construction should not result in any significant decrease in drug smuggling rates because most drugs are delivered to the USA by means of plane, ship or hidden in specific vehicles. In a worst-case scenario, the construction of the border wall should result in the increase in the drug-related deaths because the quality of drugs will become worse in response to the increased costs of drug delivery.
As noted above, there are different forms of smuggling, each of which has its own specificity and if the border wall will not prevent one form of smuggling this does not necessarily mean that it should be ineffective in preventing another form of smuggling. In point of fact, the second frequently used motivation to which Trump often refers to while explaining the need for the wall’s construction is human trafficking. Thus, the border wall is expected to prevent not only drug smuggling but people smuggling as well. Just as in the case of drug smuggling, however, experts are rather skeptical about the effectivity of the measure in this regard. On the whole, experts discuss two potential effects that can be associated with the construction of the border wall. First, its construction might encourage traffickers to choose new routes for people smuggling. Expectedly, these routes will be more dangerous and more difficult to discover (Rosenblatt par. 8). In other words, human trafficking will become less controlled and more life-threatening. The second potential outcome is that more illegal migrants would decide to stay in America given that their return home should become more challenging and dangerous (“Why Donald Trump’s wall won’t keep heroin out of America” par. 6). Otherwise stated, the border wall will not only close the entry for people smuggling but it will likewise close the exit for illegal migrants causing them to stay in the USA as long as possible.
To summarize, it can be concluded that the construction of the border wall should not presumably result in any significant change in smuggling rates. From the standpoint of drug smuggling, the construction of the wall is almost useless because the dominant part of all drugs arriving in America is delivered by sea or air. Moreover, the construction of the wall can result in more negative consequences – dealers, trying to maintain their profits, are likely to maintain them by decreasing the quality of their products. From the standpoint of people smuggling, the construction of the wall can make it less controllable because human traffickers will search for alternative routes, more dangerous and less visible. Additionally, this construction will likewise lead to more illegal immigrants staying in the USA because their return home will become much more challenging.
- Rosenblatt, Kalhan. ” Will Trump’s Border Wall Prevent Human Trafficking? Experts Aren’t Sure.” News, 26 Apr. 2017, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/will-trump-s-border-wall-prevent-human-trafficking-experts-aren-n751466. Accessed 26 April 2018.
- “Why Donald Trump’s wall won’t keep heroin out of America” The Economist, 13 Nov. 2017, https://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2017/11/transparent-hype. Accessed 26 April 2018.
- Winter, Jana. “Trump Says Border Wall Will Stop Drugs. Here’s What a DEA Intel Report Says.” Foreign Policy, 29 Aug. 2017, http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/29/trump-says-border-wall-will-stop-drugs-heres-what-a-dea-intel-report-says/. Accessed 26 April 2018.