AP Fact Check: Trump oversells wall as a solution to drugs

A man passes a Mexican migrant baby to her mother after they jump the border fence to get to the U.S. side to San Diego, from Tijuana, Mexico, Dec. 29, 2018. | Associated Press file photo by Daniel Ochoa de Olza, St. George News

WASHINGTON (AP) — In his prime-time speech to the nation, President Donald Trump wrongly accused Democrats of refusing to pay for border security and ignored the reality of how illicit drugs come into the country as he pitched his wall as a solution to trafficking.

A look at his Oval Office remarks Tuesday night:

Trump: “Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border.”

The Facts: A wall can’t do much about that when drug trafficking is concentrated at land ports of entry, not remote stretches of the border.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says “only a small percentage” of heroin seized by U.S. authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry. The same is true of drugs generally.

In a November report, the agency said the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers as they drive into the U.S. though entry ports, where they are stopped and subject to inspection. They also employ buses, cargo trains and tunnels, the report says, citing other smuggling methods that also would not be choked off by a border wall.

Trump recently denied that traffickers use entry ports at the southern border, contradicting the evidence and assertions of his drug enforcement personnel.

Trump stretched credulity even more by comparing the wall money he wants from Congress to the cost of the entire drug problem in the U.S.: “The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress.”

Trump: “Democrats will not fund border security.”

The Facts: That’s not true. They just won’t fund it the way he wants.

They have refused his demand for $5.7 billion to build part of a steel wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats passed legislation the day they took control of the House that offered $1.3 billion for border security, including physical barriers and technology along the U.S. southern border.

Senate Democrats have approved similar funding year after year.

Democrats have also supported broader fence-building as part of deals that also had a path to legal status for millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

In 2013, Senate Democrats voted for a failed immigration bill that provided roughly $46 billion for a number of border security measures — including new fencing – but that legislation would have created a pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The 2013 Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act had money to double the number of miles of fencing, to 700 miles, as well as for more border patrol agents. It also had a mandatory employment verification system to ensure all U.S. employees are authorized to work in the country. In exchange, however, the bill allowed immigrants living in the country illegally to apply for a provisional legal status if they paid a $500 fine and had no felony convictions.

As well many Democrats voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which has resulted in the construction of about 650 miles of border barrier. But that legislation didn’t authorize the kind of wall Trump has long been advocating since he launched his campaign.

Trump: “The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.”

The Facts: Mexico is not paying for the wall despite what Trump promised during the 2016 campaign, and nothing in the trade agreement would cover or refund the construction cost.

Trump is assuming a wide variety of economic benefits will come from the agreement, but they can’t be quantified or counted on. For example, he has said the deal will dissuade some U.S. companies from moving operations to Mexico and he credits that possibility as a payment by Mexico for his wall.

The deal updates the North American Free Trade Agreement, in the main preserving NAFTA’s liberalized environment of low or no tariffs among the U.S., Mexico and Canada, while making certain improvements for each country. Trump stated inaccurately that it’s “brand new. It’s totally different.”
Moreover, it’s not in effect. The deal has yet to be ratified in any member country and its chances of winning legislative approval are not assured.

Written by CALVIN WOODWARD and JILL COLVIN, Associated Press.

Associated Press writers Hope Yen in Washington and Amanda Seitz in Chicago contributed to this report.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • iceplant January 8, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Pesky things those facts. 😉

    • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 7:21 pm

      What facts?
      Prove they are facts ice or are you just a mirror for the 24hr news
      Dig it up and show us the documents that the AP won’t if it won’t interrupt with your video game.
      We are waiting…..
      Ya Right …. FACTS….

      • iceplant January 9, 2019 at 8:35 pm

        Hey pal, if you can’t accept facts when they’re right in front of your face, nothing I say is going to help you.

        • Happy Commenter January 10, 2019 at 4:55 pm

          Why should he, plant? You never accept facts! Pot calling the kettle black again!

  • Comment January 8, 2019 at 9:13 pm

    The simple fact is that republican(and democrat) elitist business owners benefit tremendously from the cheap labor of illegal aliens. These business owners contribute massive amounts of money to political campaigns. You can drive around our dear city of st george and find many many crews made up almost entirely of illegal aliens constructing buildings all over town. These crews of illegals aren’t the least bit worried of being deported and do their work right out in the open. Essentially Utah, just like CA, is a sanctuary state. The problem is systemic. The political class is the problem. The illegals are here to stay, more will continue to flood in, the swamp will not be drained, and donald trump will continue to fail at governing in every way.

    And yes, Mexicans traffic drugs over the southern border–massive amounts of drugs. Where there are buyers for drugs, drugs will find there way in. Fentanyl from China makes it’s way into the US from all over the place–mexico, canada, some of it is mailed directly into the US from ‘China Post’. Millions of packages and shipments come to the US from China everyday, and only a tiny fraction of drugs are discovered by customs inspectors–it’s the same story with border patrol inspecting vehicles from mexico. The drug trafficking problems are not likely to be impacted much, if at all, from the dear donald’s fence/wall.

    Everything donald does just seems to be for show–a clown circus. He fails at governing and fails at leadership.

  • Redbud January 8, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    This whole article is fake news!

    • Comment January 8, 2019 at 10:38 pm

      I guess denial is one of the stages of grief, huh?

      • Redbud January 9, 2019 at 1:37 am

        I agree, denying that we need a border wall is such a tragedy!

      • KR567 January 9, 2019 at 4:46 am

        It is fake news…but it seems you like drinking the kool aid !

        • iceplant January 9, 2019 at 8:10 am

          Feel free to tell us all what’s fake about it. We know you can’t but it’ll be worth it to watch you tie yourself in knots.

          • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 6:11 pm

            How about you tells us under-educated sheeple what’s real about it ice!
            Here’s your chance to be an AP star. Waiting for the knots to come undone…

          • iceplant January 9, 2019 at 8:19 pm

            Just because you can’t handle truth and facts doesn’t mean I should have to spell it out for you. Go back to high school.

          • KR567 January 10, 2019 at 6:04 am

            Hey iceplant prove it’s not fake news

          • iceplant January 10, 2019 at 7:41 am

            AND YOU CAN’T PROVE IT IS.

      • Happy Commenter January 9, 2019 at 11:52 am

        If it’s from AP (All Propaganda) it always needs to be fact checked, thay have become one of the leading distributors of left wing fallacies! More progressive punch for weak minded sheeple!

        • iceplant January 9, 2019 at 1:38 pm

          Speaking of fallacies from weak-minded sheeple.

          • Happy Commenter January 9, 2019 at 6:23 pm

            And you answer every time..hahahaha!

    • iceplant January 9, 2019 at 1:29 am

      What’s the matter, comrade Red?
      Can’t find any ‘alternate’ facts to fit your narrative?

      • KR567 January 10, 2019 at 6:06 am

        What the matter comrade iceplant …you stressing out over fake news ? take another swig of the Kool Aid

        • iceplant January 10, 2019 at 7:42 am

          Better than the poison you drink.

  • Jared January 9, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Denial of news being fake is a catastrophic stage in grief. Dicerning the difference real news, fake news and misguided opions is more important.

    • Fester January 9, 2019 at 8:02 am

      Americans are the most heavily propagandized people on the planet and they love it, they seek it out daily. Their TVs are on whenever they are home, they are glued to their smartphones, and they repeat the media sound bites the next day.

      The people will believe what the media tells them they believe.
      –G. Orwell

    • bikeandfish January 9, 2019 at 9:36 am

      Its up to you to show how the news is “fake” when making the allegation. The fact checks in this article are well established truth and from respectable sources.

      • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 6:40 pm

        Hey bike, I think and most sensible people believe, its up to the NEWS ORG to prove they are right. Don’t see that anymore (Walter Cronkite), and with talking heads on the lose on the internet news threads, regurgitating the 24hr news cycle they don’t think it is necessary either.
        Put up or shut up is what my parents taught me. They also used the “children should be seen and not heard” thing a lot too.
        Just sayin…
        Crawl out of the basement , your parents will be proud. Go over to ice’s house, ya I know, that’s the sun, it will be OK.
        Build a campfire and sing cumbia together in the evening, but you defiantly need to turn off the TV and get outside and talk to people with a different point of view. Turn off the TV first though

        • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 6:54 pm

          And get off of the soy products, that will make a big difference in a very short time

  • mshaw January 9, 2019 at 6:39 am

    The border is needed to keep out the Mexicans we should just dig a big trench and let the ocean divide us with sharks as tools to scare them Mexicans from getting in the water

  • Fester January 9, 2019 at 8:00 am

    An AP story? The AP is every bit as left as the Amazon Post, or the NYT, and puts out their “get Trump” propaganda every day. The US media (mostly Democrat propagandists) has spent two years screaming about Trump, and little else.

    Why do the Democrats fight so hard for foreign criminals over American citizens? Can any Dem voter explain?

    • Comment January 9, 2019 at 11:44 am

      I’m a dem voter and I don’t believe the Repubs are capable of not being corrupt to the core. They are simply worse than the dems. All we can do anymore is pick a lesser evil. Repubs wouldn’t even be discussing the invasion if it weren’t for dear donald. And I don’t believe donald is at all serious about ridding us of the invaders. He simply has used the invasion as a political propaganda tool. Americans are tired of illegal invaders so it resonates well. But I don’t believe any political elitists, including dear donald, have any intent of ridding us of the invaders.

      The dems have become traitorous filth in the way they coddle invaders and label all minorities as victims of white man’s oppression. I don’t know how they got so out of touch with reality. The repubs just continue with their usual self-serving corruption and pay lip service to issues like illegal aliens, but they don’t intend to do anything about it. “Build a wall” sounds real good to the masses of dumbed-down sheep, but it’s likely to cost an enormous amount and be almost totally ineffective.

      The core tenets and corrupt ways of the R-party have not changed since the reign of Baby Bush II, where more illegals flooded in than at any other time in history. Anyone who believes the R-party wants rid us of invaders is naive, deluded, or just stupid.

      You trumpers keep on believing in your savior donald. Maybe some day you’ll catch on. But by then it’ll be too late. Sheep will be sheep. oh well…

    • iceplant January 9, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Sell your story to the agri-industries in Cali and AZ who rely on both legal and illegal immigrants to keep themselves afloat. And that’s not the only places you’ll find them. They are everywhere and probably work harder than you’d ever dream of.
      Your false accusations of immigrants being “foreign criminals” is laughable right-wing fear tactics and propaganda at their finest. Completely void of truth.

      • KR567 January 10, 2019 at 6:07 am

        it’s only fake news…chill out

    • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 7:09 pm

      Fester this VERY typical of bottom dwellers not answering the question.
      Your question was
      “Why do the Democrats fight so hard for foreign criminals over American citizens? Can any Dem voter explain?”
      and look at the responses…. nothing to your question!
      Any Questions?

      • Comment January 9, 2019 at 7:47 pm

        I’ll give a simpler answer since you don’t seem to be able to read.

        “Why do the Democrats fight so hard for foreign criminals over American citizens? Can any Dem voter explain?”

        For about the exact same reasons the republicans have done nothing about the invasion for the last 30+ years, or the reason the republicans oversaw most of the US’s industrial production being sent over to China. It comes down to cheap labor for an elitist class to exploit. The only wild card here is the donald. A person who is not really a typical republican neo-con, or “rino” as many of you say.

        So a question back at some of you nutters: “Why have the republicans fought so hard for foreign criminals over American citizens until only very recently a guy named donald finally brought the issue to the forefront of political discussion? Can any Repub voter explain?”

        • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 8:56 pm

          MONEY … we all know that on all sides.
          It’s about the money and power so what your point being a (nutter?……. give me your definition of nutter it new to me)

          • Comment January 9, 2019 at 11:00 pm

            the partisans are usually nutters. We all need to come together as citizens for the common cause of ridding ourselves of illegal invaders.

  • Not_So_Much January 9, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Build the wall.

    • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 7:12 pm


  • Craig January 9, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Probably; but, let’s discuss one of the Presidents job responsibilities – protecting our borders.

    Further, the Schumers and Pelosis, darlings of the left, wanted, and said we must have, a wall …… until Trump became President. So, let’s get rid of the sanctimonious lecturing.

    Yes, the wall is not 100% effective at stopping ever I’ll man can dream up, but it will help solve many problems.

    Immigration is great as long as it’s legal.

    Illegal immigrants are much more likely to come with their hand out, making demands. If they were good honest hard working people, they would not be breaking the law.

    I have no idea why something so simple has become so difficult to understand.

    Might it be related to illegal voting? Might it be related to illegally inflating the census? Might it be to get near slave labor by paying much less than appropriate?

    So, let’s not be childish and change the discussion to did he overestimate or underestimate such and such an effect.

    The issue is we need to control our border and only those entering legally are welcome.

    And, guess what? It really is that simple.

    • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 7:45 pm

      To much truth there Craig you gonna get feedback.
      BTW wheels don’t work either and I’m sure they are racist if I have “White Walls” or some other made up left-wing definition

      • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 8:19 pm

        I have to confess folks and fellow readers I have been named a BIGOT by iceplant and now probably a racist
        Viewer/Reader warning Advised … FOR YOUR SAFETY… of course

        • Happy Commenter January 10, 2019 at 4:11 pm

          That means you are doing it right!

  • Redbud January 9, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    The AP, CBS, and CNN have all reported fake news on a variety of topics over the years, so they have already discredited their self as being trustworthy. If they are not trustworthy, their news can and should automatically be labeled as fake news. If it’s fake, it’s fake!

    • Comment January 9, 2019 at 7:14 pm

      I like how trump handles the MSM fake journalist scumbags. He’s quite skilled at making them look like the clowns that they are.

      • Red2Blue310 January 9, 2019 at 8:42 pm

        I get it. You’re a repugnican and have to see everything through that lens.

        • Comment January 9, 2019 at 11:02 pm

          no actually, I just despise MSM. I don’t say it proudly, but I did vote for the female clinton in ’16… LOL

    • Just Guessin January 9, 2019 at 7:36 pm

      Right on Redbud but it goes along way back, that’s how we got to this point.
      and to comment’s post
      ” I like how trump handles the MSM fake journalist scumbags. He’s quite skilled at making them look like the clowns that they are.”
      Comment, they aren’t even in the same world as the rest of the country and the POTUS . Unicorns and fairy tales comes to mind.

      • Red2Blue310 January 9, 2019 at 8:15 pm

        Liars will be brought down to the lowest.

        • Happy Commenter January 10, 2019 at 4:12 pm

          Schumer and Pelosi will be on that list! hahaha!

  • Red2Blue310 January 9, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    The term “fake news” showed up with Trump. He knows all about it.

  • utahdiablo January 9, 2019 at 10:00 pm

    “In 2013, Senate Democrats voted for a failed immigration bill that provided roughly $46 billion for a number of border security measures — including new fencing – but that legislation would have created a pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally”……Not going to give these 11 Million illegals ( real number is 22 Million ) Amnesty, so enjoy the shutdown however long it takes……The Wall will be built

    • Comment January 9, 2019 at 11:04 pm

      It could be as high as 40 million

    • AnnieMated January 10, 2019 at 3:59 pm

      “… so enjoy the shutdown however long it takes……The Wall will be built” You realize that’s TREASON right?

      • bikeandfish January 10, 2019 at 5:02 pm

        How is that treason?

        As defined by the US Constitution:

        “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

        That’s a serious word to be politicizing.

  • SKEEZY January 9, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Wait….. I thought Mexico was paying for the wall???? RIP

    • KR567 January 10, 2019 at 6:09 am

      They are going to pay for the wall ..as soon as they get paid for their next drug shipment

  • Redbud January 9, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    Ok. Here’s some news that isn’t fake! Cher just tweeted to Nancy Pelosi to let Trump have his wall. The dems idolize her, so they should listen! Trump will finally get his wall, thanks to Cher!

    • iceplant January 10, 2019 at 7:46 am

      Cher? Really? That’s your desperate angle now?
      How about the fact that little Donnie listens to fascist trash like Coulter and Hannity?
      I guess that’s okay with you seeing as you WANT fascism in America. Pathetic be thy name.

      • Happy Commenter January 10, 2019 at 4:14 pm

        Plant, apparently you don’t have a clue what fascism is. Since you behave just like one! hahahaha!

    • Red2Blue310 January 10, 2019 at 7:51 am

      Trump started this and should stop it now. He forgets hes no longer a New York wise guy but the president. He knows nothing else but to use leverage over thodse who cant speak for themselves. Federal workers, his workers, rely on him to keep this government running, not use them as leverage for his ego. Its his responsibility for the shutdown, the Trump shutdown, over a wall that doesnt stop drugs, is too expensive for what it does, and Mexico was to pay for. He conned us and we’re getting exactly what we voted for

  • FowRizzle January 10, 2019 at 2:13 am

    The wall is to keep us in sheeple

  • bikeandfish January 10, 2019 at 11:28 am

    He just can’t stop lying:

    “When during the campaign I would say Mexico is going to pay for [the wall], obviously I never said this, and I never meant they’re going to write out a check. I said they’re going to pay for it. They are. They are paying with the incredible deal we made called the USMCA.”

    Except, his campaign said almost exactly what he denies in April 2016:

    ““It’s an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion continues to flow into their country year after year,”.

    He lied to the American people to sell us the idea of the wall. He’s (ie his administration) lied about the facts to justify the wall. And now he’s lying about his own, well-documented, campaign rhetoric.

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