He rejected the claims by Democrats — and data from his own U.S. Customs and Border Protection — that most drugs seized at the border are being caught at ports of entry, not on unguarded frontiers.
“It’s wrong, it’s wrong. It’s a lie. It’s all a lie,” he said.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, 90 percent of heroin, 88 percent of cocaine, 87 percent of meth and 80 percent of fentanyl seized along the border in the first 11 months of 2018 was intercepted at legal crossing points.
Asked where he gets his statistics, the president said, “I get many stats.”
But there remains little evidence of any crisis the wall could solve. Illegal border crossings haven’t been as low since 1971; most illegal drugs are smuggled through ports of entry, not hauled across the open border; and there’s no evidence that undocumented immigrants commit more crime than native-born Americans. Meanwhile, the nation’s intelligence chiefs didn’t mention border crossings among the major threats to national security in their January congressional testimony.
Trump also appeared to suggest that he believed the perceived problem of drug smuggling into the United States could be resolved by more liberal use of the death penalty.
“When I asked [Chinese president Xi Jinping], I said you have a drug problem? ‘No, no, no.’ I said you have 1.4 billion, what do you mean you have no drug problem? ‘No, we don’t have a drug problem.’ I said why? ‘Death penalty. We give death penalty to people that sell drugs.’ End of problem.”
A 2016 report from Brookings Institution found that despite more than 500 Chinese laws regarding illegal drugs, these “’relentless and draconian countermeasures’ have been relatively ineffective against the country’s drug problems.Last year, Trump said of the Chinese president: "He's now president for life. President for life. No, he's great. And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot some day."