From McClatchy D.C. Bureau:

While the Drug Enforcement Agency estimates the vast majority of heroin in the U.S. is facilitated in some way through Mexican drug cartels, “most of the people that I prosecuted at the border for moving huge amounts of drugs were U.S. citizens,” said Arthur Rizer, who was a federal drug prosecutor with the Department of Justice. “Sure, you get some immigrants with backpacks of stuff, but the tractor trailers full of drugs are typically going to be people here legally.”


And Rizer and Dr. Keith Humphreys, former senior policy advisor for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, argued sanctuary cities actually tend to help law enforcement catch drug dealers, because immigrant communities, less nervous about the risk of deportation, are more likely to report drug dealers working on their street corners and cooperate in law enforcement investigations. There are no studies specifically on that issue (although police departments in Houston and Los Angeles, both considered sanctuary cities, have reported decreases in Hispanics reporting crimes since President Donald Trump took office, indicating that anti-immigrant language in general may have a chilling effect).

Even if sanctuary cities do allow drug suspects to post bond sooner, Humphreys said, they’ll eventually be able to do so no matter where they get arrested. In addition, once an undocumented immigrant is convicted, ICE is notified regardless of the location.

“Not to mention, everyone involved in drug dealing is very replaceable,” Humphreys said. “You hold a guy in jail for a few more days, another person just takes his spot.”

Humphreys, Rizer and Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center, all said they’ve seen no evidence that drug dealers target sanctuary cities, as the hearing suggested. And while Wilson said it’s an issue worth looking into as a small piece of a broad effort, he noted that the conversation is only a useful one if both the pluses and minuses of sanctuary cities are considered in connection with the opiod epidemic.

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