On Friday, the Supreme Court temporarily allowed President Donald Trump to draw $2.5 billion from the Pentagon’s budget to fund the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. The ruling, while not permanent, allows the president to make use of the funds until the issue is settled in a pending case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
While Trump celebrated the decision, some, like Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said that a border wall will not accomplish any of the president's stated goals. Trump has repeatedly advocated for the construction of a border wall to prevent drug smuggling, but even members of his own administration have acknowledged that a majority of smuggling occurs at ports of entry, not on parts of the border the wall would cover.
“The Southwest land border POEs are the major points of entry for illegal drugs, where smugglers use a wide variety of tactics and techniques for concealing drugs,” Paul A. Beeson, the director of Joint Task Force – West (JTF-W) of the Department of Homeland Security's Southern Border and Approaches Campaign Plan wrote in a written testimony to Congress in 2017.
Beeson’s view was shared by former White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, who also told Congress in 2017 that a majority of drugs come in at ports of entry. According to a Washington Post analysis of CPB press releases between November 2018 and February 2019, of 120 drug seizures, 82 occurred at ports of entry while another 14 occurred near checkpoints.
“The majority of drugs, guns and money are smuggled at ports of entry,” Noorani said. “If the administration wants to keep us safe [and] they want to keep drugs out of the country — which is the case they made to the Supreme Court — they’re actually spending in exactly the wrong place.”