In regard to illegal immigration, the left and the right are at extreme odds when it comes to how to deal with those crossing over into the United States. The left wants to subsidize them using taxpayer funds while the right wants to subsidize the prison industrial complex by locking them up. Meanwhile, however, those of us not blinded by the political divide are looking at why they are crossing over in the first place and proposing solutions to fix it that don't require subsidizing anyone.
The reality of the situation is that the recent spike in immigrants coming into the United States from the Southern border are fleeing the inevitable results of the bipartisan policy carried out by multiple federal agencies on a global scale. The overwhelming majority of migrants coming from countries like El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are fleeing violence created by the US federal government's own war on drugs.
But how does American policy create violence in Honduras, you ask? The answer is simple, supply and demand.
Because making something illegal does nothing to curb the demand for it, the war on drugs acts as fuel to the fire of gang violence and crime in these South and Central American countries by creating an incentive for criminals to capitalize on the constant demand.
Gangs and cartels form to meet this constant demand because they are the only ones willing to break the law to fill it. The void in demand created by the war on drugs is filled with society's worst who have no qualms about murdering innocents to protect their supply chain and keep the blood money and illegal drugs flowing.
Because the United States has no legal supply of these drugs, cartels willing to break the law bribe politicians in their own country to grow them and then smuggle their products into ours. As a result, the US is actively incentivizing crime thus fueling a refugee crisis.
To show just how closely related gang violence and the drug war are, we can look at the effects that legalization of marijuana in only a few states has had on gang violence and trafficking throughout the US and Mexico.
A study earlier this year showed that marijuana legalization led to a drastic drop in violent crime in US states that border Mexico.
According to the study, Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime, when a state on the Mexican border legalized weed, violent crime fell by 13% on average. According to the study, homicides specifically related to the drug trade fell by an astonishing 41%.
Just seven cartels control the illegal marijuana trade into the US and even with legalization, they still supply most of the weed consumed in America.
But legalizing pot and allowing it to be grown inside the United States is crippling the cartels and putting them out of business, according to the study.
“These laws allow local farmers to grow marijuana that can then be sold to dispensaries where it is sold legally,” said economist Evelina Gavrilova, one of the study’s authors. “These growers are in direct competition with Mexican drug cartels that are smuggling the marijuana into the US. As a result, the cartels get much less business.”
Because there is less business for cartels, drug-related violence plummets.
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“The cartels are in competition with one another,” Gavrilova explained. “They compete for territory, but it’s also easy to steal product from the other cartels and sell it themselves, so they fight for the product. They also have to defend their territory and ensure there are no bystanders, no witnesses to the activities of the cartel.
“Whenever there is a medical marijuana law we observe that crime at the border decreases because suddenly there is a lot less smuggling and a lot less violence associated with that.”
Currently, marijuana is only recreationally legal in just 9 states, yet the effect of this legalization is felt across the country. Imagine what will happen to the cartels when the other 80 percent of the country stops kidnapping and caging people for this plant.
But marijuana is only the beginning. Other similar studies show that countries like Portugal, who decriminalized all drugs in 2001, have seen drug usage rates sharply decline as well as violent crime.
To curb violence in countries south of the border—thereby stifling the massive influx of refugees and solving a major problem—the United States should end the war on drugs—all of them.
The results of such a move would be immediately evident. It would even serve to lessen the flow of dangerous synthetic drugs from China which are used to replace the far safer, but already illegal versions of other drugs in America.
To be clear, no one here is advocating that the US end the drug war and then start promoting drugs. In fact, if government simply spent a tiny fraction of the money it spends on enforcing the drug war, on educating children, and health and treatment programs instead, the results would be incredible.
The evidence is there and some states are already considering it. Last year, as TFTP reported, Oregon proposed legislation to decriminalize all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, and ecstasy—because they can see how throwing people in cages for these substances only makes things worse.
Sadly, however, there are far too many people in high places who profit from the prohibition of these substances. The crime created by the drug war is used to justify the need to constantly grow police departments across the country. The drug war has allowed police departments the ability to steal property from otherwise innocent people, making themselves rich in the process.
The illegal drug trade is also used to warrant spending massive amounts of money on people and equipment in the government which do nothing to curb drug use but do everything to oppress citizens. Case in point: the current opioid crisis' existence in spite of the largest police state in US history.
What's more, cartels need drugs to be illegal so they can maintain their monopolies on distribution and cultivation to enrich themselves while oppressing citizens around them. The government needs drugs to be illegal so they can rationalize the ever increasing police state.
Big pharma needs drugs to be illegal because many of these illegal drugs are far safer and far more effective than their patented chemical compounds and they hate competition. And the prison industrial complex needs drugs to be illegal so they can enjoy the massive taxpayer-funded windfall they receive from throwing users and small-time dealers in cages.
Unfortunately, neither the left nor the right is able to see this and take proper action. Until we overcome this massive hurdle of state and corporate sponsored prohibition, we can expect to see more children being taken from their parents and thrown in cages and more cartels which in-turn will keep increasing illegal immigration—adding to the vicious and inhumane cycle of violence and bureaucracy.