Former drug czar John Walters said on Thursday that a physical barrier on the border will discourage people who are transporting drugs from entering the United States.
"Obviously, a fixed barrier and a control of the border will discourage people from trying to penetrate with drugs," Walters told "Fox and Friends" host Brian Kilmeade. "Two hundred people are dying a day of overdoses let alone uncounted thousands being addicted, and people are saying this isn't a real problem. That's kind of horrifying that our national leaders are just dismissing the massive amounts of death here, and if we don't change the strategic landscape on the ground, less guard duty, more control and sorting at channelled and controlled ports of entry, we will continue to have unbelievable and historic carnage of death from drugs alone."
The government is on the 20th day of the partial shutdown as Congress and President Donald Trump remain at a standoff over funding for a border wall. Trump gave an Oval Office address Tuesday night arguing that there is a crisis along the southern border and that a physical barrier is necessary in order to secure it. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and other Democrats have expressed opposition to any funding for a wall.
Walters, who served as director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy from 2001-2009 under President George W. Bush and acting director in 1993 under President Bill Clinton, said the United States is losing strategically because too many border enforcement personnel are doing guard duty between points of entry and that a physical barrier would allow them to better manage the flow of migrants coming across the border.
"We are losing strategically now because we have got too many people on guard duty between the ports of entry and we're not channeling people into areas that we can sort them and analyze correctly," Walters said.
The Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday that the amount of drugs seized by border patrol agents has increased over the past 10 years, both at and between points of entry.
Most of the methamphetamine in the United States—which killed almost 11,000 people in 2017—is produced in cartel-run Mexican super-labs over the border. Most heroin is also Mexican, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Most cocaine is produced in Colombia, but almost 40 percent is smuggled through Mexico. And most fentanyl is produced in China, but Mexican drug traffickers play a role in the trade.
"You have to change the strategic situation so you can focus your people and your analysis at a controlled area of the port of entry to sort the bad things–the drugs, the crime–from the good things that we want to have as trade and exchanges," Walters said. "Right now we have thousands and thousands of people on guard duty between the ports of entry because we don't have fixed barriers. We will know this works when people don't try. The whole point is to get a situation where you have deterrence."