Stopping the Cross-Border Flow of People, Drugs, Cash, and Weapons

 Ronald W. Mortensen | Center for Immigration Studies

The 2016 presidential campaign has drawn a sharp contrast between Donald Trump, the president of Mexico, and Hillary Clinton when it comes to the fight against human traffickers, the cross-border drug trade, and the smuggling of cash and weapons. On the one hand, Trump and the Mexican president agree on the role that a wall can play in stopping the illegal, cross-border flow of people, drugs, cash, and weapons. On the other hand, Clinton offers more of the same with her hollow promise of “secure borders” coupled with amnesty for illegal aliens in the United States – nothing to effectively interdict cross-border human trafficking and nothing to effectively stop the flow of drugs weapons or cash.

During a joint news conference in Mexico, Trump and the Mexican president both expressed serious concern about the cross-border flow of drugs, cash, weapons, and people and the president of Mexico recognized “the right of either country to build a physical barrier or wall on any of its borders.” Unlike Trump, Clinton has not met with the president of Mexico and, by supporting the status quo, she effectively comes down on the side of the Mexican drug cartels who take advantage of a highly insecure border to traffic drugs, cash, weapons, and people.

Human Trafficking

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, human trafficking “occurs when a person is induced by force, fraud, or coercion to work under the total or near-total control of another person or organization; forced to pay off a loan by working instead of paying money, and/or perform a sex act for money or anything of value. … Although many people think of the sex trade when they think of human trafficking, this crime also occurs in such labor situations as: domestic servitude, labor in a prison-like factory, or migrant agricultural work.”

The 2016 State Department Trafficking in Persons Report states: “Mexican women and children, and to a lesser extent men and transgender individuals, are exploited in sex trafficking in Mexico and the United States. Mexican men, women, and children are exploited in forced labor in agriculture, domestic service, manufacturing, food processing, construction, forced begging, the informal economy, and street vending in Mexico and the United States.”

The State Department estimates that between 14,000 and 17,500 individuals are trafficked into the United States each year; most are undocumented and many come through the porous Mexican border. Once in the country, women and children are forced into prostitution and modern slavery, including domestic servitude, sweatshops, etc. The problem is so serious that in 2012 the California attorney general and Mexico attorney general signed an accord to expand prosecutions of criminals — typically members of transnational gangs — who engage in the trafficking of human beings.

Trump’s wall would help stop human trafficking; Clinton’s empty promise of “border security” would ensure that human trafficking from Mexico continues unabated.

Drugs

Mexican cartels and independent smugglers flood the United States market with marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, etc., resulting in the addiction and death of Americans of all ages, social status, and geographic locations, including rural areas. Trump’s wall would sharply interdict this trade and save untold lives. Clinton’s hollow “secure borders” promise would do nothing to slow the drug trade and would result in the addiction and deaths of still more Americans.

Cash

After drugs are sold in the United States, it is necessary for the cartels to get the proceeds back to Mexico. Therefore, huge amounts of cash are smuggled from the United States into Mexico. If this cash could not be moved across the border, the U.S. market for drug dealers would be much less appealing. Trump’s wall would seriously interrupt this smuggling of cash and, when coupled with the sharply increased difficulty of getting drugs into the United States, would cause major disruptions in the cartels’ drug trade. Clinton’s “secure borders” would do nothing to stop this flow of cash and would ensure that the cartels’ drug trade remains untouched.

Weapons

Firearms and ammunition flow from the United States into Mexico, which makes it harder for Mexico to combat the drug cartels. This flow of weapons was one of the major concerns raised by the president of Mexico during his meeting with Trump and both addressed the issue in their joint press conference. The establishment of a strong border wall would allow both countries to interdict this weapons trade and to save many Mexican lives. Clinton’s “secure borders” would do nothing to impede this weapons trade.

In summary, the president of Mexico and Donald Trump agree that something must be done, including erecting a physical barrier or wall, to address the ongoing cross-border people, drug, cash, and weapons smuggling. As the president of Mexico said in his statement at the joint press conference following his meeting with Trump:

[H]aving a secure border is a sovereign right and mutually beneficial. We recognize and respect the right of either country to build a physical barrier or wall on any of its borders to stop the illegal movement of people, drugs and weapons. Cooperation toward achieving the shared objective, and it will be shared, for the safety of all citizens is paramount to both the United States and to Mexico.

Unfortunately, Clinton promises more of the same — more human trafficking, more drugs flowing across the border, more weapons smuggling, and more cash flowing back into Mexico.