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John Avlon's Reality Check: A Wall Won't Stop The Drug Smuggling

The government is shut down over a wall no one really wants, and no one really needs.
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CNN's John Avlon did a reality check this morning on whether a border wall would stop the flow of drugs into the country.

"Let's talk about drugs. Republicans seem in lockstep when it comes to the idea that drugs are pouring over the southern border and only a wall can stop it," Avlon said. "Alabama congressman Mo Brooks got into a fiery debate with our John Berman about it. I got fired up when they brought up 9/11 for the need to build a wall. There's no comparison, congressman."

"Two thousand are homicides by illegal aliens according to federal government data. You've got another 15,000, 16,000 die each year from heroin overdoses, 90% of which across our southern border."

"Next, Brad Winstrop tried to make the same point."

"We can stop the flow of diseases into our country, the flow of drugs."

"We have Trump Republican congressmen comparing undocumented immigrants to terrorists, murderers and disease-ridden drug mules. Politifact has taken down the fact, saying undocumented immigrants commit 2,000 homicides a year. The main point seems to be that drugs are flowing across the southern border. These congressmen aren't drug experts but let's ask some people who are. Quote, most drugs are smuggled into the United States on fishing boats, trains, tractor-trailers and ordinary cars that come in at legal points of entry.

"That sounds like a DEA report, but it's not. It's court testimony from cartel members at the trial of drug king El Chapo. They say when it comes to getting drugs into the United States, just about anything, including homemade submarines, is better than than open borders. No wonder the DEA came to the same conclusion, writing, 'The majority of the flow is through privately owned vehicles entering the legal points of entry.'

"Look, drugs are a terrible problem in the United States, and it's one area where Donald Trump has been clear and consistent. He correctly stated more Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017 than were killed during the Vietnam war. And it's true a lot of terrible drugs are coming from the southern border -- but it is the southern border of Connecticut. That's where Perdue Pharma is located that's being sued by Massachusetts and at least 35 other states for helping create a nationwide opioid epidemic killing Americans every day. Executives complain about sales targets and push for bigger targets.


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"Republicans say even one life lost to an illegal immigrant is too many. They are right. Every death is a tragedy which is why it is worth noting at the dawn of the opioid epidemic with 59 deaths in a single state, Purdue's president wrote, 'This is not too bad. Could have been far worse.'

"So don't get fooled by fear mongering. When you look at the facts about dangerous drugs, the ones that matter most are the ones around the minds of people that think only a complete physical barrier could solve the problem."

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