U.S. spends $90 billion on border security, drugs keep pouring in

Published 30 June 2011

A recent study found the United States has spent an estimated $90 billion over the past decade to secure the U.S - Mexico border with mixed results;annual border spending had tripled over the last decade; the increased spending has helped curb illegal immigration, but for Mexican drug cartels business is booming and they are smuggling more drugs than ever into the United States

A recent study found the United States has spent an estimated $90 billion over the past decade to secure the U.S – Mexico border with mixed results.

Using information obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, White House budgets, and congressional transcripts, the Associated Pressfound that annual border spending had tripled over the last decade as lawmakers have allocated funds to build a sophisticated network of sensors, fences, law enforcement patrols, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Costs have included $110 million to deploy 1,200 National Guard soldiers for a year, $1.75 million for a rail cargo X-ray machine, and $75,000 for the average annual salary of a border patrol agent.

The increased spending has helped curb illegal immigration, but for Mexican drug cartels business is booming and they are smuggling more drugs than ever into the United States.

Ten years ago, border agents caught 1.6 million illegal immigrants trying to cross the border in a year compared to 2010 when agents intercepted less than 500,000. Federal officials attribute this decline to both the recession, which has decreased the number of jobs available, and stepped up border security measures that have discouraged people from attempting to cross illegally.

In contrast border agents are interdicting record quantities of illegal drugs and there appears to be no end in sight.

Last year, border guards seized a record 254,000 pounds of cocaine, 3.6 million pounds of marijuana, and 4,200 pounds of heroin. Despite these seizures, the U.S market is far too lucrative, generating $25 billion for Mexican drug lords, and so cartels have continued to smuggle drugs in increasing quantities.

According to Office of National Drug Control Policy, in a given year there is an estimated 660,000 pounds of cocaine, 44,000 pounds of heroin, and 220,000 pounds of methamphetamine in America.

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