While the United States has spent tens of billions of dollars on border security over the past decade, the nation’s borders remain unsecure — so unsecure that in some areas of the border, interdiction rates may be as low as five percent, according to a Senate Committee report.
“Interdiction rates on the border are below 55 percent, and as low as 30 to 40 percent in some areas,” the report, released this week by Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, reads.
“In unfenced areas—approximately two-thirds of the southwest border—interdiction rates may be as low as 5 percent,” it adds, noting that this is the case despite more than $100 billion spent on border security over the past ten years.
The report highlights the committee’s work during the 114th Congress and focuses on the chairman and Ranking Member Tom Carper’s eight policy “priorities,” among them border and immigration security.
“The threat of terrorism is just one of the reasons why we must secure our borders and fix our broken immigration system; international drug trafficking and human trafficking, exacerbated by unsecure borders, are ruining the lives of too many of our citizens and hurting so many of our families,” the committee’s report reads.
The committee also argued that America’s appetite for drugs and smugglers’ desire for profits had been a “driving factor” of border insecurity.
The report recalled that a former “drug czar” told the committee that the interdiction rate of drugs across the U.S. land border is about five to 10 percent. Likewise, the report notes, the Coast Guard estimates it is only able to catch about 30 percent of the illegal drugs of which it is aware.
“We spend roughly $31 billion per year on the war on drugs. Yet in 2014, there were more than 47,000 overdoses in the United States, or about 129 overdose deaths per day. 13 In Wisconsin, for example, Milwaukee County alone saw 109 heroin-related overdose deaths in 2015,” the committee reported, concluding that the nation is “losing the war on drugs.”